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Die I fun, 1901. 


Saint Dominic 

By Jean Guiraud 

Translated by 

Katharine de Mattos 

11 ^ r Washbourne Ltd, 
"Patermster *I{pw London 

Manchester Birmingham (§- Glasgow 

*Benziger "Brothers 

C^zv York Cincinnati Chicago 



First Edition^ 1901 Second Edilion, 1909 

Tram/irrcd to R &* T Waihbournt Ltd. J uk€, 1913 

Authorised Translation 
A II rights reserved 

























I N beginning this Life of St Dominic it is impossible 
^ to ignore the difficulties presented by the under- 
taking. The founder of a religious order playing a 
great part in history, the saint has been the object 
of the extravagance of praise and of criticism alike. 
His admirers and disciples have not been content 
with the information, sometimes vague or scanty, 
furnished by thirteenth century writers and in 
particular by his successor, Jordan of Saxony, and 
ever since the end of the fourteenth century legend 
has mingled with history. By Alain de la Roche it 
was profusely scattered throughout the pages of his 
biography, his zeal — as pious as ill-advised — only 
serving to render the life of his hero additionally 
obscure ; Jean de Rechac, in the seventeenth century, 
in a biography overflowing with the marvellous and 
marked by an entire absence of criticism, followed 
in his steps ; while on the other hand the enemies 
of the faith have too often seen in St Dominic the 
founder of the Inquisition alone, his figure appear- 
ing to them in the sinister light of the faggots. 


Thus Llorente displays him at Lagrasse, near 
Carcassonne, celebrating Mass upon a flattened 
hillock, "while at the four corners of the platform 
stakes had been erected and flames were devouring 
the victims." ^ 

The historian should beware of exaggerations of 
this kind. Without denying the marvellous or the 
miraculous, it is his duty to weigh evidence, and 
even though it should be necessary to set aside 
poetic and attractive legends, to accept that only 
which appears to him authentic. Nor will he look 
upon the subject of his history in the light of a client 
whom he is bound to justify in every particular, even 
at the cost of truth. The saints themselves may 
have been mistaken, and to however great a degree 
divine grace may have abounded in them, it was no 
infallible preservative from all error or from every 
fault. Had St Dominic committed acts of cruelty 
we should feel no difficulty in acknowledging the 
fact; but, placing the saint in his own age and 
environment, and taking above all the character of 
his opponents into consideration, he appears to have 
been a defender, wise and temperate, not only of 
faith and morals, but also of civilisation, threatened 
as it was by the subversive doctrines of the 

St Dominic was born at Calaroga in the kingdom 
of Leon, about the year 1170. His native country 
had gallantly regained her liberty from the Arabs 
after a prolonged crusade lasting over several 
centuries, and not far distant from the town which 
^ History of the Inquisition, vol. ii, p. 67. 


was his birth-place was to be seen the tomb of the 
Cid, the terror of the Moors. \Monastic institutions 
had flourished around Calaroga ; within less than 
four leagues, in the midst of the mountains, stood 
the ancient Benedictine monastery of Silos, reformed 
by the Abbot Dominic. ^ l At La Vigne the Pre- 
monstratensians had just founded a flourishing con- 
vent. Finally, at Ucles there was a house belonging 
to one of the great military orders of Spain, St 
James of the Sword. 

The parents of the saint, Felix de Guzman and 
Joanna d'Aza, belonged to the nobility of the country. 
The scrupulous criticism of the Bollandists has 
thrown some doubt upon this fact ; and it must 
be admitted that the exaggerations of certain 
writers deserved to awaken it, Lopez Agurlita 
making St Dominic cousin of Blanche of Castille 
and of St Ferdinand; although in none of the 
numerous acts issued in favour of the Friars 
Preachers do either St Louis or his brother 
Alfonso of Poitiers claim so saintly a connection, 
nor does Jordan of Saxony, disciple and successor 
of the saint, anywhere ascribe to him such an 
illustrious origin. ^ 

^ St Dominic of Silos had become abbot of this monastery 
about the year 1040, and had set to work at once to reform it 
Cf. Mabillon, Annates Ordinis St Bencdicti, vol. iv. p. 407. 

'^ *'. . . The ancient Bollandists have called in question the 
' haute noblesse ' attributed to the parents of St Dominic. At the 
present day, distrust is, more than ever, felt of genealogies drawn 
up in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries ; they were too often 
the work of unscrupulous vanity." Aualecta Bollandiana^ vol. 
xii. p. 322. 


It seems, nevertheless, to be proved that, whether 
on the side of the Gtizmans or on that of the Azas, 
the saint was descended from a hne of noble knights, 
who had fought during several centuries for Spain 
and for the Christian faith. His parents were pious. 
His mother, honoured as a saint ever since the 
thirteenth century, was beatified by Leo XII. in 
1828. He had two elder brothers who, like himself, 
dedicated themselves to God: Anthony, after solid 
'Study, becoming canon of St James, and vowing 
himself in that capacity to the service of the poor 
and of the sick; while Manes also followed the 
University course, but in 1217 made his profession 
in the hands of his brother, and having become Friar 
Preacher, helped to spread the infant order in 
Castille. He was beatified by Gregory XVI. 

The birth of St Dominic was attended by marvels. 
While his mother was awaiting her delivery, she 
had a strange vision. " She imagined," says Jordan 
of Saxony, " that she bore in her womb a dog, and 
that it escaped from her, a burning torch in its 
mouth, with which it set fire to the world." " The 
day of his baptism," relates Thierry of Apolda, " the 
godmother of the saint had a vision in which the 
blessed child appeared to her, marked on the fore- 
head with a radiant star, of which the splendour 
illuminated the entire earth " ^ — forcible and gracious 
symbols of the effect which was to be produced by 
the burning zeal of St Dominic and his spiritual 

^ Quetif & Echard, Scn'ptores ordinis PnFdicatorum, vol. i. 
p. 2. BoUandisls, Ada Sanctorum ^ 4lh August. 


Joanna d'Aza brought up her son herself for the 
first seven years of his life ; but when his education 
was to begin she recognised the necessity of a 
separation. Her brother was arch-priest of Gumiel 
d'Izan, not far distant from Calaroga, and to him 
she intrusted Dominic, who remained under his, 
care for seven years. No details of his studies 
remain ; they were doubtless identical with those of 
alb. children of good family — classical Latin, the 
Latin of the Fathers of the Church, with exercises 
in rhetoric serving in all probability as their founda- 

When the young pupil had attained the age of 
fourteen the arch-priest was compelled to find a 
more learned teacher for him and St Dominic was 
sent to Palencia (1184). This was one of the most 
important towns of the kingdom of Leon. Though 
its university was not definitely founded by Alfonso 
IX. till the year 1209, it already possessed those 
schools which in the Middle Ages grew up under 
the shadow of the abbeys or episcopal palaces.^ 
We know that St Dominic passed ten years there, 
of which the first six were dedicated to the liberal 
arts, by which were understood the exercises of the 
trivium and of the quadrivium, preparatory to the 
mastership of arts— that is, grammar, poetry and 
logic ; arithmetic, algebra, music and astronomy. 

^ The schools of Palencia were very ancient ; it is said that 
they went back to the times of the Goths. Lucas de Tuy, deacon 
of Leon, who wrote his chronicle about 1239, says that there had 
been always schools in Palencia, semper ibi vigiiit scholastica 
sapientia. Cf, Denifle, Les Univenites au Moyen Age, vol. i. 
p. 472. 



After this double cycle of general studies, he was 
in a position to select the special science which he 
desired to cultivate. This was theology, and to it 
he devoted four years, from 1191 to 1194. 

He gave himself up to it with ardour, so his 
biographers say, making mention of his long vigils 
and above all of the books covered with notes, which 
he was forced to sell in order to supply himself with 
money for charity — •♦ vendidit libros suos manu sua 
glossatos." 1 

Mixing as a student with the young men, some- 
times noisy and dissipated, belonging to the schools, 
St Dominic never lost the seriousness and purity 
which had distinguished him from childhood. 
Already conspicuous for the refinement of his habits 
and the discretion of his character, " his conduct 
had nothing of the young man about it, and beneath 
a youthful exterior was hidden the wisdom of age." 
For from that time forth he was acquainted with 
all that is stern and exalted in the spiritual life. 
Giving himself up to those austerities practised by 
him to the end, he abstained for rrore than two 
years from wine,^ and most often, after long vigils 
devoted to study or penance, slept on the bare 

At the same time he was lavish in his charities, 

^ Evidence of Brother Stephen at the Process of Canonisation. 
Cf. Bollandists, A.S., 4th August, p. 389. 

- This fact is related by most of his biographers, particularly by 
Eudes de Chateauroux in one of his sermons : ' ' veniens Palenciam, 
ubi tunc florebat studium, a vino abstinuit per illasquatuor annos, 
quibus studuit et eiiam per sex ui alios sequenter." Cf. Denitle, 
op. cit. p. 473. 


bestowing upon the poor, together with spiritual 
consolation, all that he saved from his personal 
needs. His biographers give many instances of his 
self-sacrifice. During his theological studies, the 
town, together with the whole of Spain, underwent 
a season of famine, that scourge of the Middle Ages 
of which the ravages are well known. Many of the 
poor were dying of hunger and neglect. Dominic 
could not endure the spectacle, and he sold all he 
possessed, even to his books and his notes. His 
example was followed by several of his comrades, 
and the prevailing misery was alleviated by the alms 
of students and teachers, stirred by the example of 
the saint. The forerunner of St Vincent de Paul, 
he attempted several times to sell himself for his 
neighbour, endeavouring in the first instance to 
substitute himself for a prisoner whose sister was 
anxiously endeavouring to free him from the Moors, 
and attempting later on. to liberate after the same 
fashion certain women who were kept by poverty in 
the power of heretics. One biographer — his con- 
temporary, Bartholomew of Trent — says he several 
times renewed his heroic endeavours. 

It is impossible to discover the precise date at 
which St Dominic received Holy Orders ; for with 
regard to the earlier portion of his life the details 
preserved by historians are scanty and brief. Certain 
biographers have attempted to supplement these 
uncertainties by means of suppositions. Joseph 
Stephen of Noriega, a Premonstratensian writer of 
the last century, was anxious to prove that the saint, 
while still a student at Palencia, had taken the 


habit of St Norbert at Our Lady of La Vigne,^ 
retaining it till the year 1203; but however able 
his arguments may be, they are not convincing, 
since in this same year Dominic was already prior 
of the Osma chapter, signing in that capacity a 
diploma of 1203; besides which, the Prior Provincial 
lof the Dominicans of Lombardy, Brother Stephen, 
'giving evidence during the process of canonisation, 
declared that while a student of theology 
Palencia — that is, before the year 1194 — his master 
was already canon of Osma. 

With the view of facilitating the course of study 
to certain chosen clerks, the Church was in the habit 
of conferring canonries upon them, accompanied by 
dispensations from the duty of residence, the revenues 
of the stall serving to maintain the student. Such 
was doubtless the case with St Dominic, since while 
living at Palencia he already belonged to the Osma 
chapter. His studies terminated, he proceeded, in 
1194, to take possession of his stall and to fulfil its 
functions. " At once," says Jordan of Saxony, " he 
began to appear among his brother canons as a 
burning torch, the first in sanctity, the lowest of all 
in humility, shedding around him an odour of quicken- 
ing life, a perfume like incense on a summer's day. . . . 
Like an olive tree which throws out branches, like 
a growing cypress, he remained day and night in the 

^ He dwells upon the relations existing between the Pre- 
monstratensians of Our Lady of La Vigne, and St Dominic's 
first master, his uncle, arch-priest of Gumiel. It is, however, 
certain that the saint was well acquainted with the Order of St 
Norbert, since, as will be seen in the sequel, he frequently 
borrowed from it in the constitutions of the Friars Preachers, . 


church, devoted ceaselessly to prayer, and scarcely 
showing himself beyond the cloister, lest he should 
lose leisure for contemplation. God had given him 
grace to weep for sinners, for the unhappy, and for 
the afflicted : and this sorrowful love, oppressing his 
heart, found outward vent in tears. It was his 
custom, rarely broken, to pass the night in prayer 
and, with shut doors, to give himself up to 
communion with God ; and there were then some- 
times heard voices and sounds as if groans, which 
he was unable to restrain, were breaking from him. 
One special demand he constantly addressed to God 
— that there might be bestowed upon him a true 
charity, a love which should count nothing too dear 
for the salvation of men. . . . He was accustomed 
to read a book named The Conferences of the 
Fathers, treating alike of vice and of spiritual 
perfection ; and in reading it he learnt to know 
and to follow out all the pathways of virtue. This 
book, assisted by grace, raised him to a nice purity 
of conscience, to abundant illumination in contempla- 
tion, and to an eminent degree of perfection." i 

The virtue and the zeal of the young canon 
corresponded admirably with the projects of the 
Bishop of Osma, Martin de Bazan, and of his friend, 
Didacus d'Azevedo. 

In spite of the reforms which had been carried 
out by Gregory VII., the cathedral chapters were 
lending themselves to laxity. Taking their names 

^Jordan oTSaxony. Queiif and Echard, op. cit. vol. i. p. 4. 
In this quotation, as in many which will follow, we borrow the 
translation of Lacordaire ( Vie de S. Dominique). 


from seignorlal fiefs, and rebels against episcopal 
authority, some of the canons were temporal princes 
rather than members of a religious order; and 
heretics, already so numerous in Spain, Italy and 
the south of France, did not fail to denounce such 
abuses. It had been attempted by several reformers, 
to restore regularity to the canonical office and to 
recall the canons to their religious observances; 
such having been the aim set before him in 1106 by 
William of Champeaux, creator of the Canons 
Regular of St Victor, and in 1120 by St Norbert, 
founder of the Order of Premonstratensians. Since 
their time, several bishops had succeeded in inducing 
their chapters to adopt the rule of St Augustine, 
and amongst them had been Martin of Bazan at 
Osma, about the year 1195. In spite of a certain 
amount of opposition, the regular life was professed 
by the canons of that place; and in 1199 the new 
and stricter statutes which they had received at the 
hands of their bishop were confirmed by Innocent 
III. Didacus d'Azevedo and Dominic probably 
assisted the prelate in carrying out this reform, 
since immediately afterwards the one was named 
prior, the other sub-prior, and when, about 1201, 
Didacus succeeded Bishop Martin, St Dominic 
became, with the title of prior, the head of the 

Applying himself to the task of maintaining the 
new observances in all their rigour, he himself set f 
the example of strictness, practising the community 
life with his colleagues, and quitting the cell or the 

' Cf. Balme, Cartulaire de Saint Dominique^ vol. i. passim. 


cloister only to chant the divine office in the 
cathedral or to pass long hours of meditation in his 
oratory. Thus were spent nine years in retreat ; it 
was his hidden life. Whether owing to the fact 
that it presented no striking features to the eyes of 
men, being similar in all external matters to that 
led by the other canons, or because his biographers 
have been able to obtain few details relating to this 
period, very little is known about it. 

Alain de la Roche and, following upon him, Jean 
de Rechac and Baillet, decline, however, to resign 
themselves to this lack of information. By dint of 
collecting together worthless legends, they have con- 
structed a fabulous life of St Dominic. According 
to these writers, those nine years had been devoted 
by him to missions; he had travelled over several 
provinces of Spain, preaching against Saracens and 
heretics, and had even, not far from St James of 
Compostella, fallen into the hands of pirates. 
Borne away by sea into captivity he had stilled the 
violence of a tempest; and by virtue of the Rosary, 
of which he had just received the revelation, had 
made converts of the crew. Restored to liberty, 
he had carried his wanderings further still, had 
preached devotion to the Blessed Virgin through the 
Rosary ^ in Armorica, and especially in the dioceses 

^ We purposely omit in this biography any account of the 
origin of the Rosary or of any efforts of the saint to further 
this devotion. It is a question more and more contested, since 
the serious doubts thrown out during the last century by the 
Bollandists {cf. Acta Sanctorum, 4th August) ; while a bio- 
graphy of the present nature should deal only with scientific 


of Vannes and of Dol, rcturnini* to Spain in order to 
escape the burden of the episcopate, which the Count 
of Brittany desired to lay upon him. Sustained by 
divine grace he had, in the course of these apostohc 
journeys, made numerous important conversions — 
that of the Lombard heresiarch Rainier in particular, 
transformed thereafter into a zealous preacher of 
the orthodox faith. 

An examination, however superficial, of these 
stories, suffices to prove their mythical character, 
teeming as they do with anachronisms and improba- 
bilities. "All this," says a Dominican, Father 
Touron, " can be brought into harmony neither with 
the rest of the history of our saint, nor with the 
testimony borne by older writers." The Bollandists 
have, since, not hesitated to declare that these 
legends are valueless, and Lacordaire has passed 
them over in contemptuous silence. Far from 
travelling over Christendom and preaching the 
Rosary to the wondering peoples of Spain and 
Brittany, St Dominic, during these nine years, says 
Jordan,^ rarely went beyond the precincts of his 

It was by a mere chance that he left it. In 1203, 
Alfonso IX., King of Castille, sent the Bishop of 
Osma to demand from the Lord of the Marches 
the hand of his daughter on behalf of his son. 
Prince Ferdinand. Dominic accompanied Didacus 
on this embassy. Historians have raised questions 
concerning tiiese Marches, to which thirteenth 
century chroniclers allude in terms so laconic. 
^ Jordan, op. cit, p. 3 : " vix extra septa monasterii comparcbut." 


Some writers — more particularly Bernard Guidonis 
— noticing the stress laid by Jordan of Saxony upon 
the length and fatigue of the journey, believe them 
to have been in Denmark; nor, seeing that Philip 
Augustus had some years earlier married Ingelburg 
of Denmark, and that in 1254 another King of 
Castille, Alfonso X., was to demand the hand of 
a Norwegian princess, is there any improbability 
attaching to the supposition that St Dominic had 
been sent on so distant a mission. According to 
other writers, it was simply a question of the 
territory of the French Marches and of the daughter 
of Count Hugo de Lusignan, a prince powerful 
enough to be sought as an ally by royal houses. 
Finally, remembering that the two envoys, on 
leaving the Marches, visited Innocent III. at Rome 
before returning to Castille, certain historians have 
started a new hypothesis, no less possible than 
others, and have decided in favour of one of the 
Italian Marches. What is certain is that in the 
course of this first journey Didacus and Dominic 
traversed Toulouse, and that they were shocked 
by the progress which had been made there by 
the Waldensian and Catharist heresy. 

*' On leur dit qu'en che pais, 
Li bougres si estoient mis ; 
Tout environ chele contree 
Toute la terre estoit semee 
De la gent ki Dieu ont guerpi 
For faire honeur a Tennemi." ^ 

1 Li Romans Saint Dominike {Bibl. Nat MS. fr. 1953 1). Cit6 
par le R. P. Balme. 


At Toulouse, perceivinj^ that their host was one 
of these *' bougres," St Dominic set to work at once 
to convert him ; when — argument, controversy and 
exhortation having failed to produce any result — the 
change so ardently desired by the saint was one 
night effected by divine grace. " From that time," 
says Bernard Guidonis, *' he cherished in his heart 
the project of spending himself for the salvation of 
misbelievers, and of instituting to that end a preach- 
ing Order, to be devoted to the evangelisation of the 

The journey from Spain to the Marches was made 
twice over by Didacus and his companion; in the first 
instance to demand the princess in marriage, and 
then, accompanied by a brilliant escort, to fetch 
her away. On this second occasion, however, their 
mission came to a tragic end, and they arrived only 
to be present at the obsequies of the young betrothed. 
Didacus despatched the melancholy intelligence to his 
sovereign ; and, there being nothing further to detain 
him in the Marches, he went with St Dominic, 
towards the end of the year 1204, to Rome, desir- 
ing to resign his bishopric, and having placed it in 
the hands of the Pope, to devote the remainder of 
his life to the evangelisation of the Cumans and 
those other unbelievers who were wanderers in the 
steppes of the Dnieper and the Volga. The attention 
of Innocent III. was, however, at the time engrossed 
by other countries, and he was far more absorbed 
in the Albigensian heresy and the dangers arising 
from it to the Church in the very heart of her 
empire. Refusing, therefore, to release Didacus 


from his episcopal functions, he sent him instead 
to preach in Languedoc. 

Of the visit of the Bishop of Osma and his 
companion to Rome very little further is known. 
According to Bernard Guidonis they won the favour 
of the Pope and of those who surrounded him ; and 
there were thenceforward established between St 
Dominic and the Cardinals SavelH and Hugolino — 
afterwards Popes, under the names of Honorius III. 
and Gregory IX. — those friendly relations which 
were to prove so useful in the foundation of the 
Friars Preachers. 

It was to the Cistercian Order that Innocent III. 
had just intrusted the subjugation of the Albigenses. 
Amalric, Abbot of Citeaux, with Peter of Castelnau 
and Raoul, monks of Fontfroide, were to lead the 
preaching crusade against the heresy ; having re- 
ceived for that purpose full powers and authority 
from the Holy See. Desirous of offering their 
assistance, the Bishop of Osma and his canon 
repaired from Rome to Citeaux, and there Didacus, 
filled with admiration for the monastic observances 
of that celebrated convent, conceived the scheme 
of carrying away with him several monks who 
should implant the Order in his own diocese. If 
Humbert de Romanis is to be believed, he himself 
took the Cistercian habit, not indeed with the intention 
of embracing the monastic life in all its strictness — 
since Innocent III., by retaining him in his diocese, 
had rendered this impossible — but in order that he 
might participate, as an Oblate, in the merits of the 


These travels of Didacus and St Dominic have 
served as a pretext for fresh legends, propagated like 
the rest by Alain de la Roche and Jean de Rcchac. 
On their way to Denmark the two envoys of 
Alfonso IX. are said to have visited the Court of 
Philip Augustus, and there to have been honour- 
ably entertained by the king's daughter-in-law, 
Blanche of Castille — this princess being, according 
to the mythical genealogy arranged after the event 
for the saint, the cousin of Dominic Guzman. The 
marriage of Louis of France and of Blanche, up to 
that time sterile, is reported to have owed its 
marvellous fruitfulness to the prayers of St Dominic, 
who, five years in advance, predicted the birth of 
a son.i Again, in their natural desire to make their 
own Orders participate in the glory of St Dominic, 
certain monastic writers have made the saint 
sojourn in convents belonging to them and even 
make his religious profession there. According to 
Denys the Carthusian, St Dominic, on his way to 
Citeaux, visited the monastery of the Grande 
Chartreuse, in order there to become a monk ; but 
the prior, filled with a spirit of prophecy, refused 
to profess him, saying : *' Go, you are reserved for 
mightier things," and giving him the mission of 
preaching against the Albigenses. According to 
other writers, it was St Bernard's habit which 
was received by St Dominic, at the same time as 
his bishop ; and after having been Premonstratensian 
and Carthusian, he became Cistercian, without 

^ Married May 23, 1200, Louis and Blanclie of Castille only 
had their first child, Philip, in 1209 {cf. Sepet, Saivt Louis, p. i). 


moreover ceasing to be Canon Regular of St 
Augustine ! 

It is useless to dwell at greater length upon these 
legends. Besides the fact that they are related 
neither by Jordan, nor by Humbert, nor by Thierry 
of Apoldia, nor by any chronicler of the thirteenth 
century, they swarm to such an extent with impro- 
babilities and anachronisms and are in such evident 
contradiction with what is positively known about 
the life of the saint, that it would be impossible that 
they should arrest the attention of the historian. 

From Citeaux, Dominic and Didacus proceeded 
to the south of France, their apostolate beginninf^ 
from that time. That of Didacus was to last less 
than two years — until his death in 1206; that of St 
Dominic was to be longer and more fruitful, since 
his preaching to the Albigenses was carried on till 
the year 1215; and from this mission resulted the 
creation of the Preaching Order. 



pVER since the first half of the twelfth century 
*-^ the preaching of heresy had been actively 
carried on, and neo-manichaeism had made great 
progress in Aquitaine and Languedoc. In 1139 the 
venerable Peter had denounced to the Provencal 
clergy the secret practices of Peter of Bruys and 
his principal disciple, Henri. ^ 

The Waldenses, the Patarins and the Catharists • 
had come from Italy to preach their doctrines in the 
south of France and had met with a favourable 
reception there. The nobility had been won over by 
teaching which delivered up the property of the 
Church to their greed, legitimising their usurpations 
in advance ; the artisan and peasant classes had 
applauded the violent attacks directed by the 
sectaries against the temporal power of the clergy, 
the dues, and the rights of all kinds possessed by 
it over the faithful ; this religion of individualism 
had, in fact, possessed from the first the power of 
leading away many souls, even among the most 
scrupulous. Civil authority shut its eyes to the 
progress of the heresy, only sending to the stake 
such enthusiastic members of the sect as incited the 
' Vacandard, Histoire de Saint Bernard, vol. ii. p. 220. 


people too openly to the destruction of churches or 
the pillage of ecclesiastical property. 

In the year 1145, St Bernard had given vent 
to an eloquent cry of distress : " What have we 
learnt ; and what are we daily learning ? What ills 
has the Church of God suffered and is suffering still, at 
the hands of the heretic Henri ? The basilicas are 
emptied of the faithful, priests are without honour, 
churches are regarded as synagogues, the sacraments 
are despised, feasts no longer solemnised. Men 
die in their sins, souls appear before the terrible 
tribunal unreconciled by penance, unfortified by 
Holy Communion. By the refusal of the grace of 
Baptism the children of Christian parents are even 
deprived of the life of Jesus Christ." ^ 

St Bernard was not satisfied with denouncing the 
evil ; at the request of the Holy See he was ready 
to combat it in person ; but it was in vain. In 1145 
he travelled over the south of France, visiting in 
turn Bordeaux, Bergerac, P^rigueux, Sarlat, Cahors, 
Belleperche, and Toulouse. In spite of his eloquence 
he rarely achieved a success; while at Verfeil, he 
failed so much as to gain a hearing ; his indignation 
at the obstinacy of the inhabitants being so great, 
that ih departing he left his malediction upon this 
nest of heretics: " Viride folium, desiccet te Deus.'*^ 

The efforts of the Popes and of their Legates 
notwithstanding, heterodox doctrines continued to 

^ Vacandard, oJ>. cit. vol. ii. p. 222, from which are also borrowed 
the following details concerning the sermons of St Bernard. 

- " Verfeil, may God wither thee." The saint plays upon the 
etymology of the name, which signifies also green leaf. 



spread during the second half of the twelfth century. 
At the beginninji of the thirteenth, an avowed 
heretic, Bertrand de Saissac, guardian of Raymond 
Roger, Viscount of B^ziers and of Carcassonne, had 
the government of part of Languedoc in his hands; 
while the Counts of Foix and Toulouse had been 
secretly gained over to the cause.^ 

The heresy had been so firmly implanted in the 
country that it possessed an organisation of its own 
and opposed its hierarchy to that of the Catholic 
Church. Toulouse and Carcassonne had each their 
Albigensian bishop, Isarn de Castres being, before 
the time of the crusade, the "bishop of the heretics" 
at Carcassonne, while at Toulouse the post was 
filled by Bernard de la Mothe and Bertrand Marty. 
The bishops were assisted by deacons who had fixed 
residences in the larger villages, from which they 
served the country round, preaching the new doctrines 
or presiding at the rites of initiation or Consolainentum. 
Raymond Bernard was deacon at Montreal, Guilabert 
de Castres holding the office at Fanjeaux before he 
became himself bishop of Toulouse. Finally, as in 
the primitive Church, the faithful were divided into 
two classes. Of these, the Perfect or Bonshovmies 
had received complete initiation or Consolamentuvi ; 
the entire doctrine had been made known to them and 
it was their duty to teach and spread it ; they were 
bound to abstinence and fasting, to celibacy and to 
all the observances of the sect, and were sometimes 
distinguished by a special dress. Those who had 

^ CJ. Histoire du Lan^nedoc^ by Dom Vaissete (ed. Molinier), 
vol. vi. p. 154, etc. 


made this profession were, in some sort, the active 
members of the heretical community. Others showed 
them the greatest respect, " adored " when in their 
presence, asked their blessing kneeling, ate bread 
and food which they had blessed, and provided for 
their maintenance and protection. Those, on the 
other hand, who are called in our documents 
* Believers,* credentes haereticoriim, were adherents 
rather than initiates ; they constituted, as it were, 
the third order of the heresy. They had faith in the 
doctrines of the sect and accepted them blindly ; they 
rendered necessary assistance to the ' Perfect ' and 
were present at the meetings over which they pre- 
sided ; but they continued to lead their ordinary life, 
married, had children, and were only distinguished 
from the faithful by their scorn of the Church, of 
her dogmas and of her practices, unless when led 
by private interests to modify or to dissimulate 
their sentiments. Upon their death-beds they often 
demanded the Consolamentiim. * 

The heresy was practised openly in Lauraguais, 
Razes, Carcasses ^ and in the whole province of 
Toulouse at the beginning of the thirteenth century. 

Before the crusade Bishop Isarn de Castres held 
meetings at Cabaret in the Montagne Noire. 
Raymond de Simorra carried on his preaching in 
Carcassonne and Castelnaudary ; being found by 

^ These countries almost correspond, the first to the depart- 
ments of Villefranche and of Castelnaudary, the second to that of 
Limoux, the third to the cantons of Carcassonne. Fanjeaux et 
Montreal are at the present day the capitals of the canton, the 
first in the district of Castelnaudary, the second in that of Carcas- 



turns at Aragon and at Montalive, near Fanjeaux. 
In 1206, Isarn de Castres made a pastoral visitation 
in the neighbourhood of Montreal, and at Villeneuve 
conferred the Consolmnentiun on Audiarda Ebrarda. 
Guilabert de Castres had a house at Fanjeaux and 
there taught the Albigensian doctrines in public.^ 

In the time of St Bernard almost all the knight- 
hood of Languedoc was already heretic : ^^fere omnes 
inilites,'' says the holy abbot of Clairvaux despond- 
icntly. The situation had not altered by 1206; and 
Innocent III. was not mistaken in attributing the 
.progress made by the Albigensian doctrine to the 
, Favour shown to it by the nobility. It was very 
frequently in the houses of the knights and even of 
the lords of the country that the Perfect held their 
meetings, and amongst those who were present are to 
be found the greatest names of the neighbourhood. 

It must not, however, be understood that, if the 
heretics had an especial value for the support of the 
great lords and for the protection afforded by them, 
they therefore showed any neglect of the humbler 
but more numerous citizen and peasant classes. In 
^he neighbourhood of Caraman and of Verfeil, on 
the borders of Toulouse and Lauraguais, the entire 
population had been won over and few persons died 
without the Consolamentuni. At Fanjeaux and at 
Montreal labourers carried on their work on Sundays 
and on festivals ; and for reproaching one of them 

^ We are furnished with this information as to the practices of 
the heretics in Languedoc at the beginning of the thirteenth '^ 
century by the vahiable registers of the Inquisitors (;f Toulouse 
preserved in the library of that town, particularly in MS. 609. 


with this on the feast of St John the Baptist, St 
Dominic came near to being assassinated at Champ 
du Sicaire. In order to attract artisans, the Perfect 
had established workshops and manufactories where 
the young were instructed at once in heretical 
doctrine and in a trade ; and many of such establish- 
ments existed in the township of Fanjeaux alone. 

To sum up, at the arrival of Didacus and St 
Dominic, the county of Toulouse, and particularly 
Lauraguais and Razes, were deeply permeated by I 
heresy. It declared itself openly, sang its canticles 
even in the churches of Castelnaudary, robbed the 
Bishop of Toulouse of his dues and, menacing the 
chapter of Beziers in its own cathedral, obliged it 
to entrench itself within its walls. Now the triumph 
of Albigensianism would have meant the ruin of 
Christianity, of which it constituted the radical 

For, according to these neo-manich:eans, the 
world, instead of being the creation of a beneficent 
God, was the work and remained the toy, of a male- 
volent being ; the mystery of the Trinity disappeared 
in the dualism of two eternal principles, that of good 
and that of evil ; the work of the Redemption and of 
Calvary had been nothing but a sham, a divine being 
having been incapable of suffering in the flesh or of 
dying. The merits of Jesus Christ having as little 
reality as the expiation made by Him, salvation 
through baptism, grace and the sacraments was 
an illusion, and the practices recommended or 
enjoined by the Church were consequently as un- 
profitable as her teaching. The dogmas of the future 


life, of the rewards of Heaven, the eternal punish- 
ments of Hell, the temporary expiation of Purgatory, 
the resurrection of the body and the Communion of 
Saints, were replaced by the doctrine of metem- 
psychosis and the indefinite transmigration of souls 
from one body to another. No harmony was there- 
fore possible between the Catholic and the Albigen- 
sian creeds; the one was bound to kill the other; 
and it was because he perceived this clearly that St 
Dominic devoted himself with so great a zeal to 
preaching against the heresy.^ 

/ Having quitted Citeaux in the course of the first 
months of 1205, the Bishop of Osma and his canon 
went to Languedoc, there to join the missionaries 
sent by Innocent III. against the heretics; finding 
them near Montpellier, profoundly despondent, and 
.questioning whether their work, like that of those 

^ iwho had gone before them, had not proved a failure. 
Heresy was in fact a stronger force than they had 
imagined, possessing as it did able and learned 
leaders, capable of holding their own in theological 
controversy, however arduous. But it was in their 
asceticism that the strength of these Albigensian 
doctors chiefiy lay. Made up of abstinence and 
hardship, their lives inspired with the greatest 
respect the populations who witnessed them ; while 
the conduct of the Cistercians sent out as defenders 
of orthodoxy was altogether different. Instead of 
proceeding on foot from township to township, as 
was the custom of the Perfect, they rode surrounded 

' For the Albigensian doctrines see Douais, Les lUritiques du 
Conili de Toulouse, 


by a brilliant escort ; yokes of oxen were necessary 
to carry their clothes and their provisions; and 
these luxurious habits created a scandal in countries 
which had felt the fascination of the austerity of the 
Bonshommes. " See," they said, " the ministers of a 
God Who went only on foot, riding; the wealthy 
missionaries of a God Who was poor ; the envoys of 
a God Who was humble and despised, loaded with 
honours." ^ 

Such were not the habits of the Bishop and Canon 
of Osma. Called to give evidence concerning St 
Dominic during the process of Canonisation in 1233, 
the inhabitants of Fanjeaux declared they had never 
seen so saintly a man. Two women, Guillelma and 
Tolosana, reported that they had made him hair 
cloths. Still more intimately acquainted with his 
manner of life, Brother John of Spain told of his 
penances and macerations : " Master Dominic had 
the discipline administered to him, and scourged him- 
self besides with an iron chain." By these means 
Didacus and he were able, without presumption, 
to recall the Cistercian missionaries to apostolic 
austerity. " It will not be by words alone," they 
said, "that you will bring back to the faith men 
who rely upon example. Look at the heretics; 
it is by their affectation of holiness and of 
evangelical poverty that they persuade the simple. 
By presenting a contrast you will edify little, you 
will destroy much, you will gain nothing. Drive out 
one nail by another; put to flight the show of 
holiness by the practices of sincere religion." The 
^ Acta Sanctorum, August 4. 


lesson was taken home ; returning to simplicity of life, 
the Cistercian monks sent back all the trivialities 
they had brought with them. Only retaining their 
books of Hours, with such volumes as were indis- 
pensable for controversial use, and living in the 
strictest poverty, they went on foot from village to 
village, without escort, without money, alone in the 
midst of heresy ; and, says Jordan of Saxony, when 
the Perfect saw the change they redoubled their 
energy in order to resist the assault which was 

Under the direction of the Legates St Dominic 
and Didacus set to work without delay. William of 
Puylaurens describes them going barefoot from 
place to place. At the inns where they lodged they 
lived upon little, practising those abstinences which 
were later on included in the Rule of the Friars 
Preachers. In 1207 Didacus went back to Spain, 
dying there at the moment that he was preparing to 
return to Languedoc for the prosecution of his 
missionary labours; and from thenceforward St 
Dominic continued alone the work he had under- 

Born in 1170, he was at his full vigour when 
his bishop gave him the direction of the com- 
panions who had followed them. One would 
wish to have a reproduction of his countenance in 
order to learn from it the secret of the irresistible 

^ Pedites, sine expensis^ in voluntaria pmipertate fidem annun- 
Hare cceperunt. Quod ubi viderunt hceretici^ caperunt et ipsi ex 
adverso fortius pradicare. Jordan {cf. Quetif and Echard, op. cit. 
p. 5)- 


power he exercised over them, but it is possible to 
supply the place of it by the portrait which has been 
drawn by one of those who witnessed his last years, 
Sister Cecilia, of the convent of Saint-Sixtus. *' He 
was of middle height," she says,^ " his countenance 
beautiful, with little colour, his hair and beard of a 
bright blond, his eyes fine. A certain radiant light," 
she adds naively, " shining from his brow and from 
between his lashes attracted love and respect. 
He was always radiant and joyous, except when 
moved to compassion by some misfortune of his 
neighbours. His hands were long and beautiful, his 
strong voice noble and sonorous. He never became 
bald, and always retained his monk's coronet, sown 
with some few white hairs." ^ 

Jordan of Saxony also lays stress upon this 
luminous expression, if it may be thus described, 
shining from the features of St Dominic like a radi- 
ance proceeding from his soul. " Nothing disturbed 
the equanimity of his soul, excepting his sense of 
compassion and pity ; and because the countenance 
of a man is brightened by a happy heart, it was easy 
to divine, by the kindliness and joy of his face, the 
serenity within. . . . Notwithstanding the lovable 
and gentle light which illuminated his countenance, 
that light never allowed itself to be despised, 
gaining with ease all hearts, so that scarcely did 
men look upon it before they were conscious of its 

^ Sister Cecilia's narrative, cited by Lacordaire, op. cit. p. 219. 
2 This last characteristic evidently refers to the last years of the 
saint alone. 


The sermons directed by him against heresy 
manifested this natural ascendancy, and, even to 
a greater degree, the equanimity of his temper and 
the serenity of his soul ; for difficulties were not 
wanting. Like St Bernard, he had to bear with 
outrages from the heretics — *• they mocked him," 
says Jordan, " and following him as he went, cast 
at him all manner of gibes." ^ "Sometimes insults 
were accompanied by menaces, met by him with 
a firmness the more unshaken since it was due 
to an ardent desire for martyrdom. ' Dost thou 
not fear death ? ' he was asked by some astonished 
heretics. ' What wouldst thou do were we to lay 
hands on thee ? " 'I would entreat you,' he replied, 
' not to put me to death at once, but to tear me 
limb from limb, so as to prolong my martyrdom. 
I would fain remain a dismembered trunk, have 
my eyes torn out, be covered with blood, in order to 
win at last a fairer martyr's crown ! '"^ And when 
he passed through a village where his life was in 
danger, he crossed it singing. '* Persecution never 
troubled him," says an eye-witness ; ^ *' oftentimes 
walked in the midst of danger with intrepid confi- 
dence, and fear never once turned him aside from 
his path. Rather, when overcome with slumber, 
he would lie down by the side of the road and sleep 
there." Several times, however, the threats of the 
heretics came near to being realised. One day, when 
he was ascending from Prouille to Fanjeaux by a 
sunken road, "feeling a presentiment that an ambush 

^ Jordan of Saxrny, op. cit. p. 9. '-^ Ibidem. 

^ Enquiry 0^ Toulouse. 


awaited him, he was walking along, intrepid and on 
the alert. Some satellites of Anti-Christ were 
waiting to kill him," only abandoning their pro- 
ject when they became persuaded that martyrdom 
would cause him nothing but happiness. "Why 
should we play his game ? " they said. " Would it 
not be to second his ardent wishes rather than to 
hurt him?" And thenceforward they refrained from 
laying snares for him. The remembrance of this 
occurrence has been preserved by tradition, and 
the pathway by which he passed is still called 
the Assassins' road.^ 

At the Montpellier meeting, Didacus had declared 
that it must be by means of preaching and of good 
example that the heretics must be brought back. 
Dominic and his companions had recourse to con- 
troversy. They were accustomed to arrange before- 
hand place and time for a conference between the 
two parties ; heretics and Catholics attended from 
all the regions round about — knights, women, 
peasants taking part in it. The crowd, doubtless by 
acclamation, designated a president and assessors, 
charged with the duty of keeping the balance even 
between the two parties ; and the court being con- 
stituted, serious and searching debates began. On 
one and the other side libelli were produced, genuine 
memoranda prepared beforehand upon some con- 
tested question which should serve as the basis of 
discussion. An oratorical struggle between the chiefs 
of the two sides followed — a tournament of argument 

^ A cross has been erected on the spot where tradition places 
this occurrence. 


which was most frequently terminated by a vote of 
the assembly. Jordan of Saxony makes mention 
of balloting as taking place at the end of the 
meetings ; no doubt according to the order of the 
day and for the purpose of giving those present 
an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon the 
discussion they had heard. 

St Dominic held a large number of these meetings. 
The first of them took place at Servian, near Beziers. 
Accompanied by the Bishop and by the Canon of 
Osma, the papal Legates came from Montpellier, 
putting the austere counsels of Didacus for the first 
time into practice. Now at Servian the two catharist 
ministers, Baldwin and Thierry, were enjoying full 
liberty in the matter of preaching, thanks to the 
especial favour shown to them by the territorial lord. 
But when from the heights of the ramparts the 
people saw the missionaries of the Holy See ascend- 
ing towards them with bleeding feet and humble 
bearing, they compelled the two heretics to accept 
their invitation to public controversy. It lasted for 
eight days and produced so deep an impression that 
the people escorted St Dominic and his companions 
a league on their way to Beziers. 

From Servian they went on to Beziers, one of 
the strongholds of heresy. There the Perfect were 
all-powerful, thanks to the connivance of the viscount, 
of the consuls and of the bishop himself. During 
a fortnight preaching and controversy were carried 
on : but the efforts of the missionaries did not meet 
with the success they deserved ; and if several 
isolated conversions took place, the mass of the 


population remained faithful to the Waldensian 

Carcassonne was the third halting-place of the 
mission. For eight consecutive days public con- 
troversies succeeded one another without engaging 
the heretic forces.^ At last the pasture lands 
of Lauraguais and Toulousain were reached — the 
districts which were to be in some sort the head- 
quarters of St Dominic's preaching. Thenceforth 
Fanjeaux became the favourite residence of him- 
self and his companions, from whence he went 
in all directions to challenge the Albigensian 
ministers to discussion. 

At Verfeil his measure of success was no greater 
than that of St Bernard himself, and the Bishop 
of Osma was exasperated to such a degree by the 
obstinacy of the inhabitants that, like the Abbot of 
Clairvaux, he too launched his anathema upon them : 
" Cursed be ye, unmannerly heretics ; I should have 
credited you with better sense." ^ 

The conference which took place at Pamiers in 
the following year (1207) was one of the most im- 
portant of all. The Count de Foix was himself the 
challenger and it was held in his castle. Like most 
of the southern lords, Raymond Roger had been won 
over to the new doctrines ; while his sister Esclar- 
monde was one of the most fervent adepts of the 
Albigensian faith, of which she made public pro- 
fession. Nevertheless, priding himself upon his 

^ We borrow these details from the Cartulaire de Saint 
Dominique, by Balme. 
2 William of Puylaurens, Chronicle^ 8. 


tolerance and his impartiality, he invited to his house 
the representatives of the two rival parties vi^ho 
carried most weight, St Dominic and Didacus meet- 
ing there Foulques and Navar, ardent defenders of 
the orthodox faith, who had just replaced heretics in 
the sees of Toulouse and of Conserans.^ The discus- 
sion was carried on with much animation, and on 
Esclarmonde interposing on behalf of the heresy she 
drew forth from Brother Stephen the bold apos- 
trophe: "Get you to your distafP; it does not be- 
come you to meddle in this affair 1 " The day was 
favourable to the Catholic cause; the Waldensian 
minister, Durando de Huesca, was converted, pre- 
sently founding the Order of Poor Catholics; his 
example was followed by Durando of Najac, William 
de Saint-Antoine, John of Narbonne, Ermengard 
and Bernard of Beziers ; the umpire of the meeting 
himself, Arnold de Campragna, who had hitherto 
inclined to the Waldensian doctrines, offering him- 
self and his goods to the Bishop of Osma, and 
becoming later on the faithful and zealous friend 
of St Dominic.2 

Jordan of Saxony makes mention of frequent 
meetings of the kind at Montreal and at Fanjeaux : 
frequenter ibi disputationes Jiebant. One of them 
was marked by a miraculous occurrence. " It 
chanced that a great conference was held at 
Fanjeaux, in the presence of a multitude of the 

^ Foulques had been bishop from 1205, having then replaced 
Raymond de Rabasteins, deposed as guilty of connivance with 
heresy. Navar had only been bishop some few months. 

' Pierre de Vaux-Cernay, Hist, dt la Guerre des Albigeois^ 
ch. vi. 


faithful and unfaithful who had been summoned 
thither. The Catholics had prepared several memo- 
randa containing reasons and authorities in support 
of their faith. But, after a comparison of them, 
they gave the preference to the one written by the 
blessed servant of God, Dominic, and determined 
to oppose it to that of the heretics. Three 
arbitrators were chosen by common consent to 
judge to which party belonged the best arguments 
and the most solid faith. Now, when after much 
talk these arbitrators could not agree together, the 
idea occurred to them to cast the two memoranda 
into the fire, so that, should one of them be spared 
by the flames, it might be certain that it contained 
the true doctrine of the faith. A great fire is 
therefore lighted and the two volumes are cast into 
it ; that of the heretics is consumed ; the other — 
written by the blessed servant of God, Dominic — 
not only remains intact, but is thrown forth by the 
flames in the presence of the whole assembly. A 
second and a third time it is cast into the fire ; a 
second and a third time the result is the same, 
manifesting clearly on which side lies the truth and 
testifying to the holiness of him by whom the book 
was written." ^ 

Peter of Vaux-Cernay, and after him the chronicler 

^ Jordan of Saxony, cp. Quetif, op. cit. p. 6. The tradition of 
this miracle has been preserved at Fanjeaux. About 1325 the 
consuls of the town bought from Raymond de Durfort the house 
belonging to his heretical ancestors where this prodigy took place, 
making of it a chapel which they dedicated to the saint and which 
remained the church of the convent of the Preaching Brothers at 
Fanjeaux until the Revolution. 


Mathieu de Feurs, place this miracle at Montreal 
and relate it with some slight variations. 

According to them, one of the heretics had stolen 
the memorandum prepared by the saint for the 
conference : " then his companions said that he 
should cast the paper into the fire, and that if 
it was burnt, their faith should be true ; and that 
if it could not burn that the faith of the Roman 
Church should be true : for which reason it was 
thrown into the fire. And after the same had 
remained a little space without any scorching, it 
leapt out of the fire, at which all remained amazed. 
Then, said one of them more obstinate than the 
rest, let it be thrown in again, and thus shall we 
prove more plainly the truth ; which then happened 
after the same manner as before. And again he 
said, let it be cast in a third time and then we shall 
know, without any doubt, the truth ; and cast again 
into the fire, it came out whole." ^ 

These prodigies notwithstanding, coupled with his 
apostolic zeal, St Dominic's preaching did not meet 
with all the success which had been hoped for. But y 
events, hastening on from 1208 to 1215 — the crusade 
which threw itself upon the south and the friendship 
of Simon de Montfort — lent new strength to the 
proceedings of the saint. 

On the 15th of January 1208, one of the Cistercian 

Legates, Peter of Castelnau, died by the dagger 

of a heretic, in consequence of having called upon 

Raymond VI. to obey the Church ; and on the 

1 following 10th of March, Innocent III., in letters 

« * Quoted by Balme, op. cil, vol. i. p. 124. 


full of fire, wrote to stir up the indignation of the i 
faithful against the crime, excommunicated the J 
Count of Toulouse and decreed the crusade. In the i 
spring of the next year the chivalry of the north j 
flung themselves upon the south by the valley of the 
Rhone and the passes of Auvergne, and in spite of a 
spirited resistance, took possession, by one blow I 
after another, of Beziers, Narbonne and Car- 
cassonne; while, by 1210, lower Languedoc was in 
the hands of the crusaders, who placed over it as 
head their own leader, Simon de Montfort.^ 

Now, the Count de Montfort lost no time in > 
forming a strong friendship with St Dominic ; " he ' 
conceived for him a great affection, having for the 
saint, says Jordan, a special devotion." " They be- 
came so intimate," adds Humbert,^ " that the Count 
chose the saint to give the nuptial blessing to his 
son, Amaury, and to baptize the daughter who be- 
came prioress rV»f Saint Antoine at Paris." Again 
and again th^^two friends were brought together 
in the course of their labours, pursuing as they did, 
though by different means, the same end. On 
September 1st, 1209, at the head of his army, Simon 
passed by the foot of the hill of Fanjeaux, where 
it is possible that their first interview took place. 
In 1211, at the siege of Lavaur, Dominic was at 
Simon's side ; as was also the case, in July 1212, at 
the capture of La Penne d'Ajen. Some months 
later, the leader of the crusade summoned together 
"the bishops and the nobles of his dominions at 

1 Histoire du Languedoc^ vol. vi. p. 325, etc. 
a Ada SS., 4th August. 


Pamiers, in order to purify the country from the 
uncleanness of heresy, to establish there good morals 
and customs favourable to religion, to peace and to 
security." Dominic obeyed this fresh call. Some 
months later, in May 1213, important military rein- 
forcements arriving from France, Simon came to 
receive them at the foot of Fanjeaux; and as 
Chaplain of Fanjeaux and Prior of Prouille, St 
^ominic once more rejoined him. On the 24th of 
the follovi^ing June an imposing ceremony took place 
at Castelnaudary. In the presence of a numerous 
company, on a vast plain covered with tents, Simon 
bestowed knighthood on his son Amaury ; while once 
again, as the friend of the young man — to whom he 
was later on to give the marriage blessing — and 
as representative of the Bishop of Carcassonne, 
Dominic stood beside him. 

Lastly, at the decisive battle of Muret, on the 
12th September 1213, the saint was among the 
monks and prelates who gave the leader of the 
crusade their counsels and their prayers. " During 
the fight, the six bishops who were present — Foulques 
of Toulouse, Guy of Beziers,Theodisius of Agde, those 
of Nimes, of Comminges and of Lodeve — the three 
abbots of Clairac, Villemagne and St Tibery, with 
several monks, amongst whom was the friend of God, 
Dominic, Canon of Osma, withdrew into the church, 
and following the example of Moses as he lifted his 
hands to heaven during the battles of Joshua, they 
entreated the Lord on behalf of His servants. . . . 
With such ardour did they raise their cry to heaven 
that it seemed that they shouted rather than prayed : 


orantes vero et clamantes in ccelunit tantum mugitum 
pro imminenti angustia emittebant, quod ululantes vide- 
hantur potitis qiiam orantes. ^ 

Nine months later, the two friends were yet again 
brought together under quite different circumstances. 
At' Carcassonne, in the cathedral church of St 
Nazaire, in the presence of the Bishop of Toulouse, 
and of the French barons of all that region, St 
Dominic gave his solemn blessing to the marriage 
of Amaury de Montfort with the daughter of the 
Viennese Dauphin.^ Thus, all serious matters com- 
bined to unite Crusader and Preacher, and their 
lives were intimately interpenetrated the one by 
the other. 

This illustrious friendship was each day increas- 
ing the ascendancy of St Dominic, and giving 
efficacy to his words. Did the saint ask yet more 
from it ; and were the severities of the secular arm 
brought to bear to strengthen the arguments of 
the missionary ? It is a serious question, often 
debated between those who see in St Dominic 
the precursor of Torquemada, and those who, by 
an exaggeration of an opposite nature, would end 
by confounding him with the gentle mystic of 

The Dominican historian Malvenda, so late as 
the seventeenth century, did not hesitate to claim 
for the founder of his Order the glory of having 
established the Inquisition and delivered up heretics 

^ Bernard Guidonis, Catalogus Romanorum Pontificuni. Du- 
chesne, Hist. Franc, vol. v. p. 768. 

2 Manachi, Annales Ordinis Pradicatorum, App. p. 229. 


to the fire of the stake.^ But by the eighteenth 
century, when more tolerant views had made pro- 
gress, Father Echard refused to believe in such 
severity on the part of the saint, and describes him 
as '• subduing heretics by argument and example, 
without having recourse either to the sword, to 
steel, or to fire, with all of which he had nothing 
to do." In this assertion the Bollandist, William 
Caper, saw a concession to the spirit of the age, 
made at the cost of historical truth ; and after 
claiming for the Church, as St Thomas also did, 
the power of excluding her foes from the society of< 
the living, as well as from the communion of the 
saints, he tries to prove that St Dominic made use 
of that right. *' The impenitent Liberal," Lacordaire, 
writing his Life of St Dominic, with the object of re- 
establishing the Order of the Preaching Friars in 
nineteenth century France, took up once more the 
position of Father Echard ; and the friend of Simon 
de Montfort appears in his work with the features, 
so to speak, of an editor of the Avenir — of Lacordaire 
himself. " These," he says, " were the weapons 
to which Dominic had recourse against heresy and 
against the evils of war — sermons in the midst of 
abuse, controversy, patience, voluntary poverty, a 
life of hardship for himself, unlimited charity 
towards others, the gift of miracles, and lastly, 
the promotion of the worship of the Blessed Virgin 
by the institution of the Rosary. The light of history 
is wanting, because the man of God withdrew from 

^ Cf. on this question the excellent dissertation of the Bollandists 
in their Acfa SS., 4th August. 


clamour and from blood, because, faithful to his 
mission, he only opened his lips to bless, his heart 
to pray, his hands to perform the offices of love, and 
because virtue when it is solitary has no sun but in 
God." 1 

Eager for the truth and taking account of nothing 
else, the historian can only seek in documentary 
evidence the solution of all these contradictions. 
Now, we possess upon this question two documents 
of St Dominic's own : ^ in the one he reconciles the 
converted heretic. Ponce Roger, "in virtue of the 
authority intrusted to him by the Lord Abbot of 
Citeaux, Legate of the Apostolic See " ; imposing 
upon him a canonical penance to be performed 
under pain of being treated " as forsworn and 
heretic, excommunicated and cut off from the body 
of the faithful." In the other he intrusts to a 
citizen of Toulouse the supervision of a converted 
heretic, pending the decision of the Cardinal Legate. 
Finally, a writing of Thierry of Apoldia, quoted by 
Lacordaire himself, shows him in the exercise of 
the functions intrusted to him by the representa- 
tives of the Holy See : " Certain heretics having 
been taken and convicted in the country of Toulouse, 
were delivered over to the secular court, because 
they refused to return to the faith, and were con- 
demned to be burnt. Dominic, looking upon one of 
them with a heart initiated into the secrets of God, 

^ Lacordaire, Vie de Saint Dominique, p. 117. It is difficult 
to imagine a passage at once so fine from a literary point of view 
and so devoid of historical criticism. 

'■^ They have been published by the Bollandists {Acta SS., 4th 
August) and by Echard {Script, Ord. Prcedic), 


said to the officers of the court : ♦' Set this one 
apart, and take heed not to burn him." Then turn- 
ing with great gentleness towards the heretic, " I 
know, my son," he said to him, *' that you need time, 
but that in the end you will become good and holy." 
Alike wonderful and lovable I That man remained 
twenty more years in the blindness of heresy ; after 
which, touched by grace, he asked for the habit of a 
Preaching Friar, living thenceforward, and dying, in 
the faith." According to Constantine of Orvieto, who 
relates the same fact in almost the same words, his 
name was Raymond Gros. Comparing with all 
these documents the canon of the Council of . 
Verona, renewed in 1208 by the Council of Avignon,^'' 
which orders that apostates who, after being con- 
victed of heresy by their bishops or their representa- 
tives, should obstinately persist in their errors, should 
be delivered over to the secular arm, it would seem 
that it must be concluded that, by virtue of the dele- 
gated authority of the Cistercian monks, St Dominic 
was to convict the heretics ; and that, in convicting 
them, he delivered them up, indirectly but surely, to 
execution, unless he suspended, by an act of clemency, 
the action of that docile instrument of the Church, 
the secular arm. Doubtless, he did not himself 
pronounce the fatal sentence ; but during their trial 
he played the part of an expert in the matter of 
orthodoxy; or even of a juror, transmitting to the 
court a verdict of guilty while capable at the same 
time of signing a recommendation to mercy. 

Instead of expending their talents in subtle argu- 
* Labbe, Concilia^ vol. xi. p. 42. 


ments with a suspicion of special pleading about 
them, Echard and Lacordaire would have done 
better to explain the line of conduct pursued by 
the Holy See and St Dominic. Without going 
into the fundamental doctrine of St Thomas, and 
bearing in mind the evangelical precepts. Love one 
another. . . . Do unto all men as ye would they 
should do unto you. . . . All they that take the 
sword shall perish with the sword; which, better 
than the indifference of the sceptic, contain the 
principles of tolerance ; and not even believing 
that pure reasons of state, so often quoted against 
the Church, can justify persecution, it would never- 
theless seem that the repression of the Albigensian 
heresy was demanded by grave social interests. It 
was not a question of bringing straying nations back 
to orthodoxy, nor even of reducing political rebels to 
order, but of protecting society from subversive and 
anarchic doctrines. In the thirteenth century, as 
ever, the Church was fighting at one and the same 
time for herself and for social order as a whole. '• It 
must be confessed," writes the author oi Additions 
a VHistoire du Languedoc, "that the principles of 
Manichaeism and of the heretics of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries, attacking society at its very 
foundations, would have been productive of the 
strangest and most dangerous disturbances, and 
would have permanently shaken both law and 
political society." And the learned archivist of the 
Gironde, M. Brutails, arrives at a like conclusion. 
*♦ The disorders and incalculable evils caused by the 
Albigenses and other sects, had led the Papacy and 


the sovereigns of western Europe to take severe 
measures against heretics. Such a proscription was 
not the effect of that fierce hatred of the misbeliever 
which is imputed to the princes of that day. It was 
dictated by a consideration happily summed up by a 
writer who says that heresy was then as much a 
social as a religious crime." ^ 

It would indeed be difficult to find in the works of 
Schopenhauer, of Nietzche, and of other contem- 
porary pessimists and nihilists any doctrines more 
deceptive or more discouraging than those of the 
Albigenses. According to their ministers, the world 
was the work of the devil — the creator of all visible 
things, and if God had intervened at all in this 
shaping of existences, He had done so only in order 
still further to weaken man, endowed with too much 
strength by the demon. Every living creature was 
unclean ; life was the supreme misfortune ; to com- 
municate it was to participate in the diabolical act 
of creation ; duty consisted alone in its destruction.^ 
This was the reason of the horror entertai^B^y the 
heretics for marriage and the family. " Rflll^^ge is 
nothing at all," said some. " In the marriage state 
salvation is impossible," asserted Ponce Grimoard of 
Castelsarrasin. Not only could it not lead to salva- 
tion, but it was the mortal sin par excellence — "a 
man sins as much with his wife as with any other 
woman." And carrying out their views to their 

^ Brutails, Les Populatio7is rurales de Roussillon au moyen oge^ 
p. 296. 

^ Cf. Abbe Douais, Les Hiritiques du Comti de Toulouse au 
XIII^ sikle. 


conclusion they ended by saying, like our modern 
anarchists, " Marriage is legalised concubinage." ^ 
Thus the Perfect vowed themselves to perpetual 
celibacy, not from love of virginity, but from disgust 
and hatred for existence. 

Several among them went further still and preached 
the necessity under which each individual lay of self- 
annihilation. To be swallowed up in nothingness in 
the same way as the mystics are swallowed up in 
God ; to abstract themselves from life to the point 
of becoming unconscious of it and to fall into that 
which the Indian fakir calls Nirvana — such was the 
practice of their saints. Berbeguera, wife of Lobent, 
a knight of Puylaurens, went out of curiosity to see 
one of these heretics : he seemed to her, she says, 
the strangest marvel ; having for long remained 
seated in his chair, as motionless as the trunk of a 
tree.2 From such doctrines as these, being as they 
were radical negations of human activity and of the 
family, greater respect for social ties was not to be 
expected. Doubtless, like Luther and other heretics 
who enjoyed for a time the support of princes, the 
Albigenses did not always insist upon theories which 
would have alienated useful protectors ; but the less 
politic amongst them did not hesitate to declare laws 
vain and social sanctions illegitimate, nor to stig- 
matise as an assassin the judge by whom a capital 
sentence was pronounced. 

Now these doctrines did not remain confined to 

^ Examination oi Bernard de Caux in 1245. Bibl. of Toulouse 
MS. 609. 
2 Ibidem. 


a narrow circle of adventurous spirits : through the 
preaching of the Perfect they had penetrated 
the lowest classes ; so that at Gaja ^ the very 
vagrants were found discussing the Eucharist. The 
common people accepted these beliefs the more 
readily for the very reason that, being incapable 
of understanding them, they were attracted by the 
mystery which surrounded them. How many free- 
thinkers of modern times have been won over to 
Freemasonry rather by the obscure character of 
the association than by any enfranchisement of their 
own limited intelligence ? And, with the rites of 
the Consolanientum, celebrated in the presence of 
initiates, with its rallying signs and its secret dis- 
cipline, Albigensianism was, in the thirteenth century, 
the freemasonry of the south of France; while in 
any case its theories, the number of its adherents, 
and its organisation made it a public danger, so 
that, from this point of view, its repression was a 
necessity. Those who, in our own day, and without 
the least prejudice, either philosophical or religious, 
have made laws and enacted the necessary penalties 
against " associations of malefactors " are in no 
position to blame the Church and St Dominic for 
having protected society after the same fashion 
from the fanatics of a similar nature by whom its 
existence was menaced in the thirteenth century. 
Doubtless the means taken were violent and some- 
times cruel: no one in our day would think of 
lighting funeral piles in order to defend social order; 

^ A village situated between Fanjeaux et Castelnaudaiy, in the 
department of Aude. 


but it must be remembered that the penal code of 
the middle ages was much more rigorous than our 
own, and that the severities by which we are amazed 
then shocked no one — not even the good St Louis, 
by whom they were inscribed amongst his ordinances. 
It has besides been noticed some time ago that 
the inquisitorial procedure gave the defence many 
more guarantees than were afforded by the civil 
courts,! and also that the canons of the Councils 
of Avignon, of Beziers and of Narbonne, directed 
especially against the Albigensian heresy, moderated 
the rigour of secular justice towards the prisoners.^ 

Without any repugnance for such measures as 
all the world then approved, St Dominic nevertheless 
counted above all on the power of example. One 
of those who knew him best, the Abbot of St Paul 
of Narbonne, thus describes him in the canonisation 
proceedings : " The blessed Dominic had an eager 
thirst for the salvation of souls and an unbounded 
zeal on their behalf. He was so fervent a preacher 
that, day and night, in churches, in houses, in the 
fields, on the roads, he never ceased to proclaim the 
word of God, enjoining on his brethren to do the 
same and to let their conversation be of God alone. . . . 
His frugality was so austere that except on rare 
occasions and out of consideration for the Brethren 
and others who might be at table with him, he ate 
nothing but bread and soup. I have heard from many 

^ Cf. Douais, The formula Communicato bonorum virorum 
consilio, of inquisitorial sentences. The Middle A^es, vol. xi. p. 
157 etc. 

'^ Labbe, Concilia, vol. xi. par. i. J>ass. 


that his purity was unsullied. ... I have never 
seen a man so humble or one who more despised 
the glory of the world and all that belongs to it. 
He accepted insults, curses, abuse, with patience 
and joy, like gifts of great price. ... He despised 
himself greatly, reckoning himself as nought. With 
tender kindness he comforted those of the Fathers 
who were sick, bearing admirably with their in- 
firmities. I have never seen a man to whom prayer 
was more habitual. He passed whole nights without 
sleep, sighing and weeping for the sins of others. 
Generous and hospitable, he gladly bestowed upon 
the poor all that he possessed. I never heard or 
knew of his having any other bed but the church 
when a church was within reach ; if the church was 
lacking, he lay upon a bench or on the ground, or 
upon the planks of the bed which had been prepared 
for him, after taking the bedding off it. He loved 
the faith and he loved peace, and as much as in him 
lay he was the loyal furtherer of the one and of the 

His influence increased from day to day. The 
canon who had accompanied his bishop in a humble 
capacity had become one of the great powers of 
orthodoxy and had formed ties of friendship with 
Foulques, bishop of Toulouse, Garcias de TOrte, 
bishop of Comminges, Navar, bishop of Conserans, j 
all of whom had been witnesses of his zeal and of 
his controversial skill. One of his companions, Guy 
of Vaux-Cernay, had become bishop of Carcassonne 
and often had recourse to him for help and counsel.. 
Inquisition of Toulouse. Boll. Acta SS. 4th August. 


In the beginning of the year 1213 especially this was 
the case. The threatening attitude of Pedro, King 
of Arragon, who had for allies the Counts of 
Toulouse and of Foix, had compelled Simon de 
Montfort to demand fresh reinforcements from the 
northern knighthood, and the two bishops of Toulouse 
and Carcassonne had repaired to France in order to 
gain over Philip Augustus and his son Louis to the 
cause of the crusade and to obtain fresh recruits for 
the Catholic forces. At his departure, Guy in- 
trusted to St Dominic the spiritual care of his 
diocese,^ and from the first days of Lent 1213 (the 
end of February) the saint, accompanied by Stephen 
of Metz, was installed in the episcopal palace of 
Carcassonne. He did not for that reason discontinue 
his sermons, and heretics being very numerous in 
that town he held conferences for them in the 
Cathedral of St Nazaire ; while increasing, these 
occupations notwithstanding, his Lenten austerities, 
"living upon bread and water alone and never 
making use of a bed." ^ 

It was wished to raise him to the episcopate ; 
and after the death of Bertrand d'Aigrefeuille in 
July 1212, and at the instigation of the archdeacon, 
Peter Amiel, the future archbishop of Narbonne, he 
was chosen by the Chapter of Beziers for their 
bishop; while not long after, on the translation of 
the bishop of Comminges, Garcias de I'Orte, to the 
arch-episcopal See of Auch and upon his recom- 
mendation, the canons of St Lizier wished to make 

1 Thierry of Apoldia, Boll. Acta SS. 4th August. 

^ Balme, op. cit, vol. i. p. 375. Lacordaire, op. cit. p. 232. 


St Dominic his successor. Lastly, about 1215, when 
the bishopric of Conserans became vacant by the 
death or resignation of Navar, another attempt was 
made by Garcias de I'Orte to raise the saint to the 
episcopate by placing him at the head of that 
diocese. Dominic, however, always declined with the 
greatest determination, declaring "that he would 
sooner take flight in the night, with nothing but his 
staff, than accept the episcopate." 2 His reiterated 
refusal was not the result of extreme humility alone : 
according to the testimony of the Abbot of Boul- 
bonne,2 the saint desired to remain at liberty to 
devote himself to the two great creations of which 
his missions had proved to him the need ; " he had," 
he said, " to busy himself with the establishment of 
the Friars Preachers and of the nuns of Prouille. 
This was his work and his mission, and he would 
undertake no other." 

1 Ibidem, vol. i. p. 479. ^ Inquisition of Toulouse. 



'TpHE heretical leaders made great account of the 
* co-operation of women, and were bent upon 
winning them over to their sect. Through them 
heretical doctrine was preserved on the domestic 
hearth and was transmitted to future generations. 
If Aimery, lord of Montreal, was one of the most 
energetic supporters of Albigensianism, it was 
because his zeal was unceasingly kept up by his 
mother Blanche and his sister Mabilia ; while at 
Fanjeaux, Veziade de Festes, the wife of one of 
the principal knights of the neighbourhood, had been 
brought up by her grandmother in these doctrines, 
and had practised them from childhood. With 
what ardour Esclarmonde de Foix had taken the 
catharistic side at the Pamiers conference has been 
already shown; and later on one of the bitterest 
opponents of the crusaders, Bernard- Atho de Niort, 
declared before the Inquisition that he owed his zeal 
for heresy to the education given him by his grand- 
mother, Blanche de Laurac.^ 

It was also most frequently women who supplied 
the catharist bishops and deacons with their meeting- 

^ All this information is drawn from the inquisitorial reports of 



places. The mother of the Sire de Montreal and 
the grandmother of Bernard de Niort, Blanche de 
Laurac, put her house at their disposal from 1203 
to 1208; and heretical assemblies were also held at 
the houses of Wilhelmina de Tonneins at Fanjeaux ; 
of Fabrissa de Mazeroles, Ferranda, Serrona, and 
Pagana at Montreal ; and at that of another noble 
lady, Alazais de Cuguro, herself a preacher of heresy, 
at Villeneuve. It was in the power of the wives of 
the poorest of the people to repder to the cause 
services of a different kind ; executing commissions 
and carrying secret messages with so much the more 
success by reason of the obscurity of their rank, 
which permitted them to go about without attracting 
notice. Begging by the way, living on bread and 
nuts, Wilhelmina Marty rendered the greatest help 
by conveying to the heretic weavers the orders of 
their co-religionists. 

Now there were in these districts of Languedoc, 
nobles who were induced by poverty " to intrust the 
bringing up and education of their daughters to 
heretics."^ It was thus, no doubt, that at two 
years and a half old, Na Garsen Richols was 
clothed at Bram in 1195 with the Perfect habit, 
which was also taken by Saura at Villeneuve-la- 
Comtal at the age of seven. When she had scarcely 
reached her eleventh year, P. Covinius was given 
over by her brother Peter Coloma to the heretics ; 
at Castelnaudary Guiranda " being yet quite little " 
was made an initiate, as was also the case with 

^ Jordain de Saxe and Humbert de Romanis. Echard, i, 
p. 6. 


Arnalde de Fremiac "during her childhood," and 
Florence de Villesiscle at the age of five. 

To receive these children heretic convents had 
been organised. The women of whom they were 
composed had received complete initiation, were 
distinguished by a special dress, and practised the 
observances of the sect in all their severity. One 
of these training houses for novices existed at 
Cabaret; to which, when scarcely seven years old, 
Maurina de Villesiscle was taken to be with her aunt, 
" who, together with her associates, lived there." 
Blanche of Montreal directed a community of the 
kind at Laurac. Towards the year 1200, Saura was 
brought up under the like conditions by Alazais de 
Cuguro and her associates ; and in the same little 
town,i Bernarde de Ricord presided over a similar 
assembly — it was from the latter a7id her associates 
that Audiarda Ebrarda received the initiation. These 
communities kept up a correspondence with one 
another, and were like houses of the same religious 
order, a mutual support. In 1206, Dolcia left her 
husband, Peter Fabre, to embrace the heresy, coming 
to join Gaillarde and her associates at Villeneuve ; 
but, doubtless, not finding herself in sufficient 
security there, she was sent to Castelnaudary "to 
Blanche and her associates," where she remained 
for a year, separated from her family. Having 
afterwards left this asylum, she came to Laurac 

^ '* Saura . . . testis jurata, dixit quod, dum esset septem 
annorum, fecit se hereticam et stetit heretica induta per tres 
annos et stabat apud Villam novam cum Alazaicia de Cuguro 
et sociis suis hereticabus. " Biblioth. de Toulouse MS. 609, 
p. 143- 


"to Brunissende and her associates," and at the 
end of a year was admitted to the noviciate — " stetit 
in prohatione.*' 

Thus were these initiates trained whose aposto- 
late was so fruitful among women. In the meet- 
ings of the sect the feminine element was always 
large. At Fanjeaux most ladies of rank were 
fervent adepts in the heresy, the lady of the 
castle herself, Cavaers, being affiliated to the sect. 
Several were not content with the position of simple 
Believers, but demanded complete initiation — the 
Consolamentum — in order to be admitted into the 
class of the Perfect. In 1204, at a solemn assembly 
where all were met together, Guilabert de Castres 
conferred the Consolamentum on three women be- 
longing to the illustrious house of Durfort, as well 
as on the Suzeraine of the place herself, Esclarmonde 
de Foix. 1 

In the course of his missions, it was impossible 
that St Dominic should have failed to become 
interested in a propaganda of this nature ; and 
women, besides, were in the habit of assisting at 
the public conferences at which the discussions 
between the saint and the heretics v^ere carried on, 
several having thus been brought back to orthodoxy 
by means of the arguments of St Dominic and 
Didacus. Now it is related by Humbert de Romans 
that on a certain evening in the year 1206, St 
Dominic having gone into the church of Fanjeaux 
to pray, after one of his open air sermons, several 
of these women initiates introduced themselves to 
^ Balme, op. cit. vol. i. p. io8. 


him, and, falling at his feet, declared themselves 
converted by the discourse which he had just 
delivered. " Servant of God," they said, " if that 
be truth which you have preached to-day, then the 
spirit of error has blinded us for long ; for those 
called by you heretics have been up to the present 
time our teachers; we call them Bonshommes, we 
have given our whole-hearted adhesion to their 
doctrines, and remain now in cruel uncertainty. 
Servant of God, we entreat you, pray to the Lord 
that He may reveal to us the faith in which we may 
live, may die, and may be saved." " Take courage," 
said the saint, " the Lord God, who wills that none 
should be lost, will show you the master whom 
hitherto ye have served." And thereupon, related 
one of the women later, the demon appeared to 
them in the form of a hideous cat. ^ 

It was not enough to convert the women belong- 
ing to the simple believers and the initiates : it was 
further necessary to preserve their infant faith from 
all manner of antagonistic influences. Often belong- 
ing to the families of heretics, they had to bear the 
objurgations or supplications of their relations; and 
disheartened at the outset by these obstacles, certain 
timid spirits might have shrunk from an abjuration 
which would be accompanied by such serious vexa- 
tions. To provide a remedy, it was necessary to 
create refuges in which, after their conversion, they 
should find shelter from all that might interpose 
difficulties in the way of their return to the Church ; 
in a word, it was necessary to organise a pious 
^ Humbert de Romanis, ch. xii., Inquisition of Toulouse, 


association for the New Converts. Whether St 
Dominic alone conceived the idea, as Humbert 
asserts, or whether it was shared by Didacus, it is 
impossible to say. One may, however, observe that, 
at the time when Jordan was writing, St Dominic 
had not yet been canonised, as he was in Humbert's 
day, and that it is possible that, after the solemn act 
of canonisation, Dominican historians felt a natural 
temptation to attribute everything that had been 
done to the saint, and that the nuns of Prouille may 
likewise have been led to claim him as the sole 
founder of their community. 

Marvellous signs indicated to St Dominic the spot 
on which the new monastery should be raised. On 
the evening of the Feast of St Mary Magdalen (July 
22, 1206) he was resting from the fatigues of the day, 
and, seated in front of the northern gate of Fanjeaux, 
was contemplating from that height the vast plain 
which lay at his feet, stretching to the distant slopes 
of the Montagne Noire and just then lit by the 
setting sun. His eyes could reach as far as the 
pasture lands of Lauraguais, between Castelnaudary 
and Carcassonne ; and nearer still lay Montreal, 
firmly seated upon its hill, the villages of Villeneuve, 
Villasavary, Villesiscle, Bram and Alzonne, all 
scattered upon the plain, with the forts ^ of which 
the towers marked the limits of Razes. Before his 
spiritual vision the remembrance of his apostolic 
labours, of which this region had been the theatre, 
unfolded itself; his thoughts turning themselves 

^ These were fortified rural groups. Du Cange translates the 
wordybma by Jtiunitio. 


afresh to the convent for the new converts which it 
was his dream to found ; and he implored Our Lady, 
if such was the divine will, to inspire and to assist him. 
All at once a luminous globe descends from heaven, 
hovers in space, and leaving a wavering trail of fire 
behind it, floats above the plain, and over the forsaken 
church of Prouille. On the two following days, the 
wonder again took place ; after which there was no 
further doubt or hesitation — the foundation of the 
monastery of Our Lady of Prouille was decided upon. 

Thereupon, by a deed which, though undated, 
must have belonged to the period between the 
months of August and December 1206, Foulques, 
bishop of Toulouse, presented " to Dominic of Osma 
the Church of St Mary of Prouille and the adjacent 
land, to the extent of thirty feet," for the use of the 
women who were already converted or should be 
converted in the future.^ In his Monumenta con- 
ventus Tolosatii, Percin states that it was also 
necessary to obtain the consent of a noble lady of 
Fanjeaux, Cavaers, who possessed rights over the 
territory of Prouille. 

Having taken these initial steps, St Dominic 
set himself to work at the constitution of the 
convent. The beginnings of it were humble, the 
buildings only consisting of one modest house, 
hastily erected at the side of the church ; and 
though the nuns were only nine in number there 

^ Percin, Alonufuenta conventus Tolosa?n, p. 5. We do not 
possess the original of this donation, but Percin has transmitted to 
us a copy which he states that he found in an old manuscript 
■ belonging to the monastery. 


was some difficulty in finding room for them 
within the narrow limits of the monastery. They 
consisted of Adalais, Raymonde Passarine, Beren- 
garia, Richarde of Barbaira, Jordane, Wilhelmina 
of Belpech, Curtolane, Claretta and Gentiana, 
their number being shortly completed by the 
arrival of Manenta and of Wilhelmina of Fanjeaux, 
all belonging to the neighbouring nobility, according 
to Jordan, nobiles matronae Fanijovis, By the 
21st of November they were assembled at Prouille, 
and in establishing, on the 27th of December, 
the monastic rule of the cloister, St Dominic 
definitely accomplished their separation from the 
world. Thenceforward their lives were spent behind 
their gratings, under the direction of their holy 
founder, their days and the greater part of their 
nights being spent in manual labour, prayer and 
religious contemplation. So long as Dominic re- 
mained at hand they had no fixed rule; but later 
on, when the development of the Order of Preaching 
Friars demanded his presence in Rome, he gave the 
cloistered sisters of Prouille and St Sixtus the con- 
stitutions which became the Rule of the Dominican 
nuns of the great Order.^ 

Born in poverty, the convent soon became the 
recipient of gifts, and in 1207, Berenger, bishop of i 
Narbonne, assigned to it the parochial church of St 
Martin of Limoux.- We shall not follow in detail 

1 These will be studied in chap. vii. 

2 For the probable reasons for this, as well as for the other 
donations made to St Dominic for his convent at Prouille, see our 
article upon " St Dominic and the Foundation of the Monastery 
of Prouille," Revue Hislorique^ vol. Ixiv, p. 225. 


the progress made by the convent in material 
matters during the lifetime of the saint. It is 
sufficient to bear in mind that Simon de Montfort 
was its principal benefactor and that, following in 
his steps, the knights of the crusade were all anxious 
to testify their admiration for St Dominic by means 
of gifts to Prouille. Thus, mostly out of the spoils 
of the Faidis, were formed the domains of Bram 
and of Sauzens, of Fanjeaux, of Agassens and of 
Fenouillet. A practical man no less than a mystic, 
Dominic ably administered the little patrimony of 
his nuns, and with the help of his friend William 
Claret, the procurator of the monastery, contrived 
by means of skilful purchases to join together 
scattered possessions and thus to constitute homo- 
geneous and manageable estates. 

His great object was to secure for his humble 
foundation the guarantees which were so necessary 
in those troubled times and in a country ceaselessly 
disturbed by war. He was not content with obtain- 
ing from Simon de Montfort the confirmation of 
each separate donation ; but demanded from him 
also general privileges, with the result that on 
December 13, 1217, some weeks before his death, 
the leader of the crusade directed his seneschals of 
Carcassonne and of Agen to take under their special 
charge the goods of " his dear brother Dominic," as 
if they had been his own.^ Some years later when, 
after the death of Simon de Montfort, it seemed 
likely that the southern nobility would regain their 
lost possessions, fears were entertained that the 
^ Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 55. 


monastery might be forced to make restitution of 
the property which had been assigned to it out of 
the spoils of the vanquished. St Dominic and his 
delegates, however, found means of obtaining for 
the convent confirmation in its possessions from 
the lords of the soil themselves, especially Raymond 
VII., Count of Toulouse, and Raymond Roger, 
Count of Foix.^ 

However pow^erful might be the support of princes, 
he did not consider it sufficient ; and having re- 
course to the authority which alone in the world 
appeared to him paramount — that of the Holy See 
— he solicited the Apostolic safeguard; obtaining 
it first from Innocent III., October 8, 1215, and 
secondly from Honorius III., March 30, 1218.2 These 
two pontifical deeds regulated for the future the 
conditions of existence of the monastery, placing 
it first of all under the patronage of St Peter. 
*' Now," says M. Paul Fabre, " the aim of the 
Apostolic patronage is to assure its integrity to the 
object upon which it is exercised. Two kinds of 
danger are to be apprehended on behalf of an 
organisation — the attacks of the outer world, and 
the diminution of its vital energy. Monasteries 
under the patronage of the Apostle are secured 
against this double peril. On the one hand all 
human powers are forbidden to disturb the monks 
or to lay hands upon their goods ; on the other, 
free power to choose their head is secured to the 
monks — the possibility of an escape, that is to say, 

1 Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 56. 

"^ Balmc, op. cit. vol. ii. pp. 2 and 3. 


from what might be termed secularisation from 
within." 1 Such were the advantages which, in the 
ApostoHc patronage, Dominic demanded for his 
monastery. The nuns were placed under the rule 
of St Augustine, the prioress being freely elected 
by her sisters ; the convent was at liberty to receive 
whosoever should wish to make her profession there; 
to carry on worship, even in time of interdict, and 
also possessed the right of sepulture. It was safe- 
guarded from any secular tyranny, for all powers 
were forbidden to claim from it dues or fines, and 
whosoever should attack its liberties was threatened 
with excommunication and the divine wrath. It 
was even protected from any arbitrary exercise of 
episcopal power, for no one save the Pope could 
pronounce ecclesiastical sentences upon it ; and if 
the holy oils, the consecration of altars or of 
churches, had to be solicited from the Ordinary, 
the convent, in cases where his authority was 
abused by its own bishop for the purpose of bring- 
ing it into subjection, was free to have recourse to 
another. It must, however, be observed that, though 
withdrawn from the arbitrary exercise of episcopal 
authority, the convent was not exempted from the 
normal jurisdiction of the bishop; Honorius III., on 
the contrary, expressly stipulating that the power 
of the Bishop of Toulouse, the Ordinary of the 
place, should be left intact.^ Finally, by these two 

^ P. Fabre, Etude sur le Liber censuum de VEglise Rornaine^ 

P- 73- 

■^ " Salva Sedis apostolicae auctoritate et diocesani episcopi 
canonica justitia." 


bulls, Innocent III. and Honorius III. guaranteed to 
the convent free possession of all its goods, present 
and future, threatening with the gravest penalties 
those who should attempt to usurp them. 

These two bulls obtained, St Dominic might con- 
sider that one of the objects he had had in view 
when he had declined the episcopate had been 
accomplished. The convent was henceforth to 
develop freely in the exercise of its pious practices, 
to reach the number, a century later, of a hundred 
and forty nuns, and to extend its possessions into 
the plains of Lauraguais and the hills of Razes. 



A T the beginning of their apostolic career, Didacus 
''*■ and Dominic served only as auxiliaries to the 
Cistercian mission and drew their authority from it ; 
Peter of Castelnau, monk of Fontfroide, and Arnold, 
Abbot of Citeaux, having alone the right to act in 
the name of the Holy See. So true is this that, in 
the testimonials given by St Dominic to the new 
converts, he declared them reconciled to the Church 
" by the authority of the Abbot of Citeaux." On the 
most solemn occasions the Spanish missionaries 
took a secondary place, the Cistercians occupying 
the higher position. Thus, when it was a question 
of compelling the King of Aragon to declare himself 
against the heresy, it was two monks from Fontfroide, 
Peter of Castelnau and Brother Raoul, who went to 
seek him; and when Raymond VI. was excommuni- 
cated for his connivance with heresy, it was Peter of 
Castelnau who pronounced the sentence. 

Nevertheless, if Didacus and Dominic possessed no 
official authority, we have seen above how great was 
the influence exercised by their austerity and zeal ; 
and they soon found themselves surrounded by zealous 



men, anxious to preach under their orders. Jordan of .^ 
Saxony relates how, when in 1206, Didacus returned 
to Spain, he intrusted the companions left by him 
in Languedoc to the spiritual guidance of Dominic ; 
and where matters material were concerned, to 
the care of William Claret. This association of 
missionaries was of the humblest character, being 
composed of few persons, "/)awci"; and after the 
departure of Didacus Dominic remained almost alone, 
^^ quasi solus.'' His resources were so limited that 
when the Bishop of Osma revisited Spain, it was 
with the object of collecting the alms which were 
growing every day more necessary.^ 

Having become, by the death of his bishop, the 
chief of the little flock, Dominic set himself to 
increase and to organise it. In this undertaking the 
saint enjoyed the powerful assistance of Foulques, 
Bishop of Toulouse. 

Born at Genoa, and a former monk of the 
Cistercian abbey of Toronet, Foulques had taken the 
place of Peter of Rabasteins, deposed from the See 
of Toulouse on account of the complaisance he had 
displayed towards heresy; and from the beginning 
of his episcopate he had testified the most ardent 
zeal on behalf of the Catholic faith. Hunted out 
of his cathedral and of Toulouse by the heretics, he 
is found in the army of the crusaders, assisting 
Simon de Montfort with his advice and experience; 
in the councils, inspiring measures as severe as they 
were efficacious for the repression of heresy ; in the 
various parishes of his diocese, spending himself in 
1 Jordan of Saxony (Echard, <?/. cit. p. 6). 


defence of the truth, preaching it personally, arguing 
with the Waldensian ministers in public conferences, 
instituting reforms amongst his clergy, and multiply- 
ing the centres of the propaganda. Meeting St 
Dominic at several of the public assemblies, the two 
apostles understood each other and became united 
by the tie of a holy friendship. St Dominic placed 
all his zeal at the service of Foulques, his bishop ; 
and Foulques used all his influence in support of 
Dominic's benevolent undertakings ; by the Church 
and by history their memories will never be separated. 
In presenting the church of our Lady of Prouille to 
the saint, Foulques had made his contribution to the 
foundation of the women's convent ; in nominating 
St Dominic to the care of Fanjeaux he guaranteed 
to the men's Order their first provision. It is 
difficult to give a precise date to this deed, but it 
was certainly anterior to May 25, 1214, since on 
that day Foulques had made over certain revenues 
to the nuns of Prouille, "with the consent of 
Brother Dominic, Chaplain of Fanjeaux." ^ The 
income of this parish, being fairly large, served for 
the maintenance of the saint and his companions. 

*' Saint Dominiks se tenoit 
Le benefice d'une eglise 
Qui au Faniat etait assise 
Por ses compaignons et por li."^ 

No less devoted than Foulques to the work of St 

1 Gallia Christiana, vol. xiii.; hist. p. 247: "de assensu et 
voluntate fratris Dominici cappellcni de Fa7iojovis. " 

2 Li Romans Saint Do?ninike. Balrae, op. cit. vol. i. p. 451. 


Dominic, Simon de Montfort, for his part, made an 
important donation to *• the holy Preaching," about 
the month of September 1214. Ever since June 
28 the crusading forces had been besieging the 
fortified castle of Casseneuil in Agenais, one of the 
strongholds of heresy; it was captured and was 
almost at once presented by Simon de Montfort to 
St Dominic. It must have been an acquisition by 
which the income of the mission was sensibly aug- 
mented, for in speaking of the beginnings of his 
Order Jordan of Saxony makes mention, as of the 
first importance amongst its resources, of the re- 
venues of Casseneuil and of Fanjeaux. 

Strengthened by the encouragement lavished upon 
him by bishops and knights, following the example 
of Foulques and of Simon de Montfort, St Dominic, 
little by little, conceived the project of giving greater 
cohesion to his work. In this he was assisted more 
particularly by the Bishop of Toulouse. By an 
enactment of July 1215, Foulques established the in- 
fant Order canonically in his diocese, giving it as its 
mission to struggle perpetually for the extension of 
orthodoxy, and of good morals, and for the extirpa- 
tion of heresy and evil customs. " As the labourer is 
worthy of his hire, and the preacher of the Gospel 
shall live by the Gospel," he had assigned him at 
the same time important revenues, abandoning to 
him in perpetuity the sixth part of all parochial dues. 
The concession was of such importance that the 
bishop took care to make mention of the approval 
which had been bestowed upon this deed by his 
chapter and clergy. It is even possible that he 


himself had not accurately calculated the extent of 
his liberality, since later on he negotiated the 
cancelling of it with St Dominic. 

Up to this time the Holy Preaching had had no 
fixed quarters. Like the Saviour, Dominic sent his 
disciples, two and two, from village to village, he him- 
self, when absent from his presbytery, only lodging 
at inns, if indeed it was not at the edge of a spring 
or in a wayside ditch.^ But in 1215 an event 
occurred which fixed the destinies, hitherto wander- 
ing, of the Preaching. At Toulouse a young man 
named Peter Seila, belonging to a rich citizen family 
and whose father had filled the post of provost, had 
attached himself to St Dominic. Shortly afterwards 
this friend, placing himself more strictly under his 
direction, determined to enter the infant Order, and 
sharing their hitherto undivided patrimony with his 
brothers, he gave up the portion he received — some 
landed property and certain other possessions — to 
St Dominic.2 

St Dominic retained a house situated near Chateau- 
Narbonnais as his own residence, and in the month 
of April established his Brethren in it. It was thus 
that the first fixed convent of the Friars Preachers 

^ Inquisition of Toulouse and of Bologna, /axi-. {Acta SS.). 

'^ Balme, op. cit. vol. i. p. <po. It had long been known that 
the Dominican convent of Toulouse, the first of those of the 
Friars Preachers, had been founded about 12 16. But Father Balme 
has been enabled to give the exact date of this deed, important as 
it is to the history of the Order and its founder, having discovered 
in the National Archives the original instrument of Peter Seila's 
donation {cp. Arch. Nat. J. 321, No 60). He has reproduced it 
\Xi facsimile in his Cartulaire. 


was founded (April 25, 1215). " They at once began 
to live in community," says Jordan of Saxony, " to 
increase more and more in humility and to conform 
to the practices of the religious life." It was this 
which gave occasion to Peter Seila, when later on 
he had become Prior of the convent at Limoges, to 
say "that he had had the honour ct receiving the 
Order in his house, before he himself had been re- 
ceived into the Order." The Friars Preachers did 
little more than pass through the house of Chateau- 
Narbonnais; for the following year, they were in- 
stalled by Foulques in the church of St Romanus. 

This, however, did not satisfy the saint. He had 
as yet not more than a dozen missionaries grouped 
around him, but he already found the limits of a 
diocese too narrow, and dreamt of founding an Order 
which should extend its operations and its branches 
over the universal Church. The occasion seemed 
favourable. By a bull of April 19, 1213, Pope 
Innocent III. had summoned to the Lateran on 
November 1st an ecumenical Council, which should 
deliberate " on the reform of the universal Church, 
the improvement of morals, the extinction of heresy 
and the strengthening of the faith." ^ Did not the 
work of St Dominic correspond to the questions 
which the Council was to solve ? Was not its object 
to protect morals and faith against heresy ; and was 
it not, on this account, worthy of pontifical approval ? 
St Dominic therefore prepared to make the journey 
to Rome with his bishop, intrusting the direction of 

1 Potthast, Regesta poniificum Rofnanorum, No 4706. Mansi 
Concilia, xxii. 960. 


his new convent to the most austere of his Brethren, 
Bertrand of Garrigua, " a man of great holiness, of 
inexorable severity in his dealings v;ith himself, morti- 
fying his flesh with austerity, and bearing stamped 
upon him the likeness of the blessed father whose 
labours, vigils, penances, and numerous deeds of 
virtue he had shared." ^ He must have arrived at 
Rome before the opening of the Council, for the 
first public session was not held till November 1 1 ; 
and on October 8, by a bull which had evidently 
been granted to the solicitations of the saint, 
Innocent III. had taken the monastery of Prouille 
under his patronage. 

From the beginning of the Council Innocent III. 
appears to have participated in St Dominic's 
ideas. Not content with having accorded the 
Apostolic patronage to the convent of Prouille, he 
demonstrated to the Lateran assembly the need of 
giving special attention to preaching and to con- 
troversy directed against heresy : " We should be 
the light of the world ; if the light that is in us be 
changed into darkness, how great is that darkness ! " 
While, through the ignorance and corruption of 
the clergy, he showed the bishops ** religion debased, 
justice trampled under foot, heresy triumphant and 
schism insolent." The Council, for its part, entirely 
adopting the views of the Pope, enacted a very 
important decree relative to preaching, and the 
urgent necessity of rendering it more active, more 
learned, and thus more efficacious. "Amongst all 
the means of promoting the salvation of Christian 
1 Thierry of Apoldia, Acfa SS. Aug. 4. 


people," said the Fathers of the Council, " it is well 
known that the bread of the Divine Word is above 
all things necessary. Now by reason of their 
various occupations, of physical indisposition, of 
hostile aggression, not to speak of lack of learning — 
so grievous and indeed intolerable a defect in a 
bishop — it often chances that prelates, especially in 
large dioceses, do not suffice to proclaim the Word 
of God. For this reason, by this general enactment 
we direct them to choose men apt to fill with fruit- 
fulness the office of preachers; who, powerful in 
word and deed, shall solicitously visit, in their stead 
and when they themselves are hindered from doing 
so, the people confided to their care, and edify 
them by word and by example. For these men 
ample provision shall be made of all they may 
require, lest, left in need of the indispensable, they 
may be constrained to abandon their mission when 
it is scarcely begun. "^ One might imagine this 
decree to have been directly inspired by the Bishop 
of Toulouse, since in making the companions of St 
Dominic missionaries in his diocese he had done 
beforehand that which was ordered by the Council 
in its tenth canon. 

The Preaching Order, as it was working in 
Toulouse, corresponded so well with the views of 
Pope and Council, that it would seem that approval 
and even encouragement should have been bestowed 
upon it without difficulty. But whether it was that 
God desired to put His sei'vant to the proof, or that 
the Church would not depart in this case from her 
^ Labbe, Cond/ta, vol. xi. par. i. p. 131. 


habitual circumspection, matters did not so fall out. 
"The Pope," says Bernard Guidonis, "made diffi- 
culties, because the office of the preacher was one 
which belonged to the high dignitaries of the Church 
of God."i St Dominic's conception was in fact too 
bold and too novel not at first to create some alarm. 
An association of religious, of which several should 
not be priests, free from any parochial ministry, 
exempted from the authority of the Ordinary, and 
devoting themselves solely to preaching in the 
universal Church, was likely to give rise to the 
gravest prejudices. Were the secular clergy fallen 
so low that it was necessary to deprive them of what 
was perhaps the most important of their duties — the 
evangelisation of souls ? And would not the bishops 
themselves be robbed of their essential prerogative 
of doctors and guardians of the faith so soon as 
foreign missionaries should come to preach the 
Gospel in their dioceses and to exercise the apostolic 
office in their stead ? Was it, finally, possible to 
separate the ministry of souls from preaching and 
to distinguish between the doctor and the pastor ? 
Besides all this, in those heretical days it was 
necessary to tighten rather than to relax the bonds of 
the hierarchy. The Waldenses, the Catharists, the 
Patarins, had developed a spirit of inquiry, and, 
under the pretext of personal inspiration, had 
recognised in simple laymen a right to preach, the 
Lateran Council finding it necessary to issue a 

1 Bernard Guidonis, Libelhis de magistris Ordinis Pmdica- 
torum. Cf. Martene et Durand, Veteruvt scriptorum et monu- 
mentorum amplissima collection vol. vi. p. 400. 



decree against preachers possessing no warrant : 
" because," so it ran, *' under the guise of piety, but 
forswearing virtue, there are those who arrogate to 
themselves the right to preach ; although it has been 
written by the Apostle, " how shall they preach 
unless they be sent ? " Any man to. whom this 
function has been forbidden, or who has not received 
a mission from episcopal or pontificate authority, 
exercising it in private or in public, shall be visited 
with excommunication and other suitable penalties 
if he does not at once amend.''^ 

St Dominic finally met with another obstacle. 
Since the time of Gregory VII. the regular clergy 
had spread greatly in the Church, and many 
convents had arisen. It was in that day that 
there appeared successively the Gilbertins in Eng- 
land, the Carthusians in Dauphiny, the Cistercians, 
the Premonstratensians and the Trinitarians in 
France.2 This monastic efflorescence had had the 
drawback of destroying cohesion amongst the 

^ Labbe, Concilia^ vol. xi. par. i. p. 133, etc. 

2 St John Gualbert founded the Order of Vallombrosa in 1063, 
St Stephen the Order of Grandmont in 1073, St Bruno the 
Order of the Carthusians in 1084, Robert de Molesme the Cister- 
cian Order in 1099, Robert of Arbrissel the Order of Fontevrault 
in 1 106; William of Champeaux established, about the same 
time, the congregation of the regular Canons of St Victor, St 
Norbert the Order of the Premonstratensians in 1120, St Gilbert 
that of Sempringham in England in 1140; Viard, monk of the 
Carthusian monastery of Loavigny, that of the Val des Choux in 
1180; St John of Matha and St Felix of Valois that of the 
Trinity for the redemption of captives in 1198. Lastly, in 1208, 
Innocent III. reorganised the Order of the Hospitallers of the Holy 
Ghost, and confirmed in 1209 the Rule given to Carmelites by 
Albert of Verceill, Patriarch of Jerusalem. 



regular clergy; one religious after another dream- 
ing in his cell of forsaking his own Rule in order 
to create a fresh one, and anarchy and want of 
discipline within the monasteries being the result. 
The evil had already become serious under Innocent 
III., who nevertheless confirmed the creation of two 
new Orders, the Order of the Trinitarians of St John 
of Matha in 1198, and the Hospitallers of the Holy 
Ghost in 1208. 

The Lateran ecumenical Council was desirous of 
remedying this abuse, and it enacted a strong decree 
directed against the excessive multiplication of 
religious families : " For fear lest an exaggerated 
diversity of religious Rules should produce grievous 
confusion in the Church, we forbid that anyone who- 
soever shall henceforth introduce any fresh ones. He 
who desires to embrace the religious life may adopt 
one of the Rules which have already been approved. 
In the same way, whosoever shall wish to found a 
new monastic house shall make use of the Rule 
and the institutions of one of the recognised 
Orders." i 

And while the Council was thus endeavouring to 
put a stop to the creation of new Orders, St Dominic 
was proposing one to the Pope and to the bishops ! 
Notwithstanding his repeated entreaties and those 
of Foulques, his request was not granted. Later on 
pious legends arose in the Order, according to which 
Innocent III. had been moved to take a more 

^ Wise decree, in which the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is 
apparent and which might be found as applicable to our age as to 
the thirteenth century ! 


favourable view by heavenly warnings : " One night," 
says Constantine of Or\'ieto, " the sovereign Pontiff 
sees in his sleep a divine vision in which the Lateran 
Church is rent and shattered. Trembling, and 
saddened by this spectacle, Innocent sees Dominic 
hasten up and endeavour, by placing himself against 
it, to support the edifice and prevent it from falling. 
The prudent and wise Pontiff is at first amazed by 
this marvel; but he quickly grasps its significance 
and without further delay praises the scheme of the 
man of God and graciously grants his request. He 
exhorts him to go back to his Brethren, and after 
deliberation to select a Rule already approved. 
Upon this basis they will be able to establish the 
Order they wish to promote, and St Dominic, return- 
ing then to the Pope, will certainly obtain the 
confirmation he desires." ^ Half a century later, the 
Dominican historian, Bernard Guidonis, was still 
echoing this pious tradition.^ 

Whatever may be thought of the story, the Lateran 
Council came to an end during the last days of 1215, 
and Innocent III. died on July 17, 1216, before the 
Order of the Preaching Friars had received confir- 
mation, St Dominic coming back from Rome at the 
beginning of 1216 and bringing nothing with him but 
the privileges of October 8 in favour of Prouille. 
Now this document had only a secondary interest ; 
it was addressed neither to the Order as a whole, 

^ Acta SS., August 4th. 

^ Bernard Guidonis,^/. at., loco cit. The legend of St Francis 
relates the same fact with regard to the establishment of the 
Order of the Minorites, 


nor to the Preaching Friars established as diocesan 
missionaries at Toulouse, but "to the Prior, the 
Brethren and the nuns of the monastery of Prouille " ; 
it only related to this particular convent and its 
goods and could not be interpreted as a recognition 
and still less as a confirmation of the new Order. 

It was during this second ' sojourn at Rome, at 
the time of the Lateran Council, that St Dominic 
formed his friendship with St Francis. While the 
Canon of Osma was soliciting the apostolical approval 
for his Preaching Friars, as learned as they were 
bold — for those *• hounds of the Lord,"^ whom he 
wished to send forth against the wolves of heresy, 
the seraphic of Assisi was doing the same thing 
on behalf of his mystical companions — those con- 
templatives who embraced the whole creation in a 
single love and, by means of their naive and touching 
effusions, were to make so many converts among 
simple people. One night, when praying according 
to his custom in the basilica of St Peter, St Dominic 
had a vision which Gerard de Frachet relates in these 
words : " He seemed to perceive the Lord Jesus in 
the air, brandishing three lances against the world. 
Immediately the Virgin Mary throws herself at His 
Feet, conjuring Him to show mercy upon those whom 
He has purchased, and thus to temper justice with 
pity. Her Son replies, ' Seest thou not the outrages 
thiy lavish upon Me ? My justice cannot leave 
unpunished such great evils ! ' And His mother 

^ Thus tliey soon came to name the Preaching Friars, playing 
upon the words Doniinica7ii (Dominicans) and Domini canes 
(hounds of the Lord). 


answers : ♦ Thou art not ignorant, my Son — Thou 
to Whom all is known — that here is a means of 
recalling them to Thyself. I have a faithful sei'vant, 
send him to proclaim Thy Word to them, and they 
will be converted and will seek after Thee, the 
Saviour of all. For his assistance I will give him 
another of my servants who will work in a like 
way.' The Son says to His Mother : ' I have 
heard thy prayer. Show me those whom thou hast 
destined to such an office.' And she straightway 
presents to him the Blessed Dominic. * He will 
perform well,' says the Saviour, ' and zealously 
that which thou hast said.* Mary then offers to 
Him the Blessed Francis, and the Saviour com- 
mends him after the same manner. At this moment 
Dominic looks with attention at his companion, with 
whom hitherto he was not acquainted ; and on the 
morrow^ finding in a church him whom he has 
seen in the night, he hastens towards him and 
pressing him in his arms : " Thou shalt be my 
comrade ; thou shalt be with me. Let us remain 
together and no enemy shall prevail over us.** 
Then he confides to him the vision that he has 
had ; and thenceforth they were but one heart and 
one soul in Christ ; directing their children to 
observe the same for ever." A touching story, 
admirably s3'mbolising the parallel destinies of these 
two great Orders and their common devotion to 
the Mother of God ! 

"The kiss of St Dominic and St Francis has 
been transmitted from generation to generation by 
the lips of their posterity," says Lacordaire in one 


of his beautiful passages. " The friendship of youth 
still unites the Preaching Friars to the Minorites 
. . . they have gone to God by the same paths, 
as two precious perfumes gently reach the same 
spot in the heavens. Each year, when the feast 
of St Dominic comes round, carriages leave the 
monastery of Santa Maria -sulla- Minerva where 
dwells the general of the Dominican Order, to go 
to the convent of Ara-Coeli, there to visit the 
Franciscan general. Accompanied by a great num- 
ber of his brethren, he comes. Dominicans and 
Franciscans, in parallel lines, repair to the high 
Altar of the Minerva, and, after exchanging saluta- 
tions, the first turn to the choir, while the second 
remain at the altar, there to celebrate the office 
of their father's friend. Seated afterwards at the 
same table, together they break the bread which 
has never, for six centuries, been lacking to them; 
and, the repast at an end, the Minorite precentors, 
with the precentors of the Preaching Friars, sing 
this anthem in the middle of the refectory: 'The 
seraphic Francis and the apostolic Dominic have 
taught us Thy law, O Lord.' The same ceremony 
is repeated at the convent of Ara-Coeli on the feast 
of St Francis; and something of the same kind takes 
place all over the world, wherever a Dominican and 
a Franciscan convent have been built near enough to 
allow of their inhabitants giving visible expression 
to the pious hereditary love by which they are 
united." ^ 

^ Lacordaire, T'/V cie Saint Dominique^ p. 133. There will, of 
course, be found, in ecclesiasiical historv, instances where the 


Returned to Languedoc, St Dominic, far from 
abandoning himself to despondency, set to work 
anew to solicit the approbation which had just 
been refused him. Whether acting upon advice 
given him by Innocent III. himself, according to 
Constantine of Orvieto's pious tale, or whether from 
his own comprehension of the necessity of removing 
the chief obstacle which he had encountered, he 
laboured to bring his projects into harmony with 
the desires of the Council. No sooner had he 
arrived at Toulouse than he called a meeting of all 
his associates at Prouille. Sixteen brothers, accord- 
ing to Humbert, responded to this summons, of 
whom Bernard Guidonis, more explicit, supplies 
the names. They consisted of Peter Seila and 
Thomas of Toulouse, Matthew of France, the 
Provencal Bertrand de Garrigua, John of Navarre, 
Laurence of England, Stephen of Metz, Oderic of 
Normandy, lay-brother William Claret of Pamiers ; 
and lastly six Spaniards, Michael of Fabra, Manes, 
half-brother of St Dominic, Dominic the less, Peter 
of Madrid, and Michael of Uzero. To this list 
Father Balme rightly adds the names of Noel, 
Prior of Prouille, and of William Raymond of 
Toulouse. Thus these first sessions of the Order 
included only seventeen religious ; it was still 
nothing but a little flock, but, full of confidence 
in its mission and in its leader, it was thence- 
forth to develop as rapidly as widely. 

emulation of these two great twin Orders reached the point oi 
rivalry ; but their history, taken as a whole, justifies the fine 
description given by Lacordaire of their brotherly union. 


In order to bring itself into harmony with the 
decisions of the Lateran Council and to take shelter 
under an ancient Order, the meeting adopted the 
Rule of St Augustine. ^ What was the reason that 
prompted them to make that choice ? It must be 
observed, first of all, that in his capacity of Canon 
Regular of Osma, Dominic himself belonged to the 
Augustinian Order, and it was therefore natural that 
the Preaching Friars should have placed themselves 
under the religious discipline to which their master 
already belonged. But what commended it to them 
above all, was the fact that it possessed great elasti- 
city, dealing in general directions rather than in strict 
regulations. " It was necessary," says Humbert 
de Romans, " to select a Rule which would contain 
nothing antagonistic to that which it was desired to 
establish; now, it is characteristic of the Rule of 
St Augustine that it contains nothing but spiritual 
precepts." " Augustine," says Stephen of Salagnac, 
" has so constituted his Rule that it is never carried 
to extremes. His precepts are neither numerous, 
nor insufficient, nor obscure. There is never any 
necessity to have recourse to the sovereign Pontiff 
for their modification." ^ The precepts of this Rule 
were of so general a kind that they were capable of 
adaptation to the most varied monastic institutions, 
to Canons Regular, to Premonstratensians, and to 
hermits. Any special regulations which were thought 
necessary could be inserted in it. " The new Order 

^ Balnie, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 23. 

2 Humbert de Romanis and Stephen of Salagnac, quoted by 
Balme, loc, cit. 


required peculiar statutes, dealing with study, preach- 
ing and poverty " ; and under the Augustinian Rule, 
they were easily added. Thus the affiliation to the 
Order of St Augustine was in reality merely an in- 
direct means of founding a new Order, while con- 
forming at the same time to the precepts laid down 
by the Council ; and in the arrangement it is easy 
to recognise the eminently practical spirit of the 

The meeting at Prouille over, pressure could again 
be brought to bear upon the Roman court. In 
August 1216, Dominic for the third time repaired to 
the Pope : but as the bull of confirmation was not 
issued for several months, it is to be concluded that 
the affair underwent further delays ; whether in order 
that the Curia might examine into the constitutions 
with its habitual prudence, or that criticisms made 
by it might be dealt with. 

At last, in a bull dated from the Vatican, Dec. 22, 
1216, and addressed to "Dominic, Prior of Saint 
Romanus of Toulouse and to his Brethren, of the 
present and of the future, having made profession 
of the Regular life," Honorius III. took for ever 
under St Peter's patronage the House of St 
Romanus, with all its goods, confirming at the 
same time the choice made by the Preaching 
Friars of the Rule of St Augustine. Issued accord- 
ing to the most solemn formulas, and to continue 
valid for ever, this license was signed by the Pope, 
together with all the cardinals resident at Rome. 
" At the same time," observes with reason Father 
Balme, " there is no question in this important 


document either of the objects of St Dominic in 
founding this institution, nor of the name he desires 
to give it and which will express that which he 
intends to be its work — an Order of Preaching 
Friars. . . . Honorius III. gives his explicit approval 
only to the Canonical Order recently formed, accord- 
ing to the Rule of St Augustine, in the church of 
St Romanus of Toulouse." ^ And in fact this instru- 
ment in no way differs from those that the Holy 
See was accustomed to grant to the special 
monasteries which successively solicited its patron- 
age. Lacordaire, in his life of St Dominic, attributes 
the lack of explicitness belonging to this document 
to the opposition of several members of the Curia : 
•• It seems to us probable that there was some 
opposition at the papal court to the establishment 
of an apostolic Order, and that to this cause was 
due the total silence of the principal bull as to the 
aim of the new Order it authorised." -' 

It seems that the reason of this silence should 
rather be sought elsewhere. It was possibly the 
first time that the recognition, not of a particular 
convent, but of an Order, had been solicited. There 
had doubtless existed before the time of St Dominic, 
and for centuries, the two great rules of St Benedict 
and of St Augustine ; but if there had been monas- 
teries following the observances of the one or of 
the other, there had never been, to speak the truth, 
a Benedictine or an Augustinian Order, if by the 
term is meant collections of monasteries grouped 

^ Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. p: 70, etc. 
^ Lacordaire, op. cit. p. 158. 


together not only under obedience to the same 
Rule, but above all under the authority of a single 
supreme head. Even the observances, already 
sufficiently centralised, of Cluny and of Citeaux 
appear far more like federations of autonomous 
Houses than like Orders. The Holy See had been 
asked to give confirmation to each separate convent; 
to no one had it occurred to demand a general license 
for a collection of monasteries forming an indivisible 

St Dominic, on the contrary, had asked the 
confirmation of the Holy See, not only for his 
House of St Romanus, but also for the entire Order 
of which it was the head-quarters. This was a 
great novelty, and it is possible that the papal 
chancery had found it embarrassing, lacking amongst 
its formularies any terms suitable for so unprecedented 
a document. It therefore made use of the ancient 
formula, applicable to a special convent, addressing 
it to the convent of St Romanus ; but on the morrow 
itself, to do away with all ambiguity, the Pope, in 
a personal deed drawn up without the help of 
formularies, assured the saint of his patronage for 
himself and his associates, " champions of the faith, 
and true lights of the Church," for their goods, and 
finally for the whole Order. Far from containing 
any contradiction to the first, this second bull added 
its exact definition, by showing that the Holy See 
meant to extend its patronage not only to an isolated 
convent, but to an Order.i 

Two papal documents soon brought fresh en- 
^ We offer this explanation as a simple hypothesis. 


couragement to St Dominic and his Brethren. 
On January 21, 1217, Honorius III. congratulated 
" those invincible athletes of Christ, armed with the 
shield of faith and the helmet of salvation," on the 
courage with which they brandished against the 
enemy that weapon sharper than any two-edged 
sword, " the Word of God " ; enjoining them to 
persevere in works so salutary, and to continue ever 
"to preach the Divine Word in season and out of 
season, in spite of all hindrances and of every 
tribulation." On February 7th, caUing to mind 
a clause already contained in the great bull of 
December 1216, he forbade that any should leave 
the Order without the permission of the prior, un- 
less it were through the desire to embrace a 
severer Rule.^ 

Dominic spent the whole of Lent, 1217, at Rome, 
preaching in several churches, and, if a tradition be- 
longing to a sufficiently early period is to be believed, 
before the Pope himself and the papal court. A 
chronicler of the fourteenth centui-y , Galvano Fiamma, 
is the first to relate it, in the following language : 
" Saint Dominic came to Rome, and that year in the 
Apostolic palace was the interpreter of the Epistles 
of St Paul ; for which cause he was given the title 
of the Master of the Sacred Palace, which passed 
to his successors in that post ; for Dominic was 
learned in philosophy and in theology." This tradi- 
tion has continued in the Order; but without wishing 
to invalidate it, we must point out that no traces 
of the fact are to be found in the most ancient 
* Balme, op. cit, vol. ii. p. 89. 


monuments of the Preaching Order, the writings of 
Jordan of Saxony and of Humbert.^ 

An older tradition, since it is related in 1240 by 
Humbert and is found again, towards the middle 
of the thirteenth century, in the writings of Thierry 
of Apoldia, Constantine of Orvieto, and Stephen of 
Salagnac, places in this year of 1217 the symbolical 
vision experienced by the saint in the basilica of the 
Vatican : " One night when St Dominic was praying 
in the presence of the Lord in St Peter's Church, 
for the preservation and extension of the Order, the 
hand of the Most High was laid upon him. All at 
once, in a vision, there appeared to him the glori- 
ous princes of the apostles, Peter and Paul, who 
advanced towards him. Peter gave him a staff and 
Paul a book, and they said to him : * Go thou and 
preach, since God has chosen thee for this ministry.* 
And at the same time he saw his disciples spread 
themselves, two and two, over the world, in order 
to evangelise it." ^ 

During this sojourn at Rome St Dominic lived 
in the greatest intimacy with Ugolino, Cardinal- 

^ In our own day the Master of the Sacred Palace is still always 
a religious of the Order of the Friars Preachers. *' He occupies 
the position of the Pope's theologian. The sermons, the yearly 
discourses, the funeral orations on Catholic princes, delivered in 
the papal chapel are submitted beforehand to him. He has 
special jurisdiction over the printing, the production and the sale 
of books and printed matter at Rome ; every book printed at 
Rome must receive his imprimatur. He is by right counsellor 
ot the Congregations of the Inquisition, the Index, the Rites, etc." 
Moroni, Dizionaj-io di emdizione storico-ecdesiastica, vol. xli. 

p. 20O. 

'^ Acta SS, August 4. — Bolognese Documents. 


Bishop of Ostia, who, become one of the great Popes 
of the Church under the name of Gregory IX., was 
afterwards to canonise him. " Sixteen years ago," 
said Brother William of Montferrat in his deposition 
during the canonisation inquiry of 1233,^ the present 
Pope, then Bishop of Ostia, offered me his hospitality. 
In those days Brother Dominic, who was at the 
Curia, frequently visited the Lord Bishop. This 
gave me the opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with him ; his society gave me pleasure, and I began 
to love him. Very often we used to talk together 
of things concerning our salvation and that of our 

At the Cardinal's house Dominic met St Francis, 
and thus was strengthened the friendship by which 
the two saints were already united. A disciple of 
St Francis, Thomas of Celano, has given an account 
of one of the pious conversations which took place 
between them and Cardinal Ugolino : " One day," 
he relates, "the two great lights of the universe, 
Dominic and Francis, were with the Lord of Ostia, 
conversing together upon matters divine. All 
of a sudden, the bishop gives utterance to this 
reflection : * In the primitive Church, the pastors 
were poor, and devoted themselves to the service 
of souls, not from cupidity but from love. Why 
do we not make your Brothers into prelates and 
pontiffs? In doctrine and in example they would 
surpass the rest.' Thereupon a veritable struggle 
ensues between the two saints. Each presses and 
exhorts the other to make reply ; for each would put 

^ Acta SS. August 4. — Bolognese Documents. 


the other first. At last humility triumphs in Francis, 
preventing him from making a beginning; while, 
equally triumphant in Dominic, he obeys through 
modesty, saying to the bishop : * Lord, if they well 
understand it, my Brethren must esteem themselves 
well placed. Never, so far as in me lies, will I 
suffer them to accept the least of ecclesiastical 
dignities.' In his turn the Blessed Francis, bowing 
before the bishop, says to him : * Lord, my Brethren 
are called Minorites in order that they may never 
endeavour to become greater (Majors), for their 
vocation instructs them to remain in piano, and to 
follow in the steps of Christ's humility; so that 
afterwards, in the assembly of the saints, they may 
be exalted before all others. If you desire that 
they should produce abundance of fruit in the 
Church of God, keep them in the state to which they 
have been called, and in case of necessity recall 
them, in spite of themselves, to humility. Father, I 
beseech you, lest through their poverty itself they 
should become proud, never permit that they should 
be raised to any prelacy.' These answers being 
made, the Lord of Ostia, having received much 
edification by hearing them, rendered to God great 
thanks." The account of this conversation has been 
given entire, because in it is displayed the virtue, 
the simplicity and the zeal of these three great 
Christians, St Dominic, St Francis and Gregory IX., 
who, united by a holy friendship, laboured so well, 
each in his own fashion, for the exaltation of God 
and of the Church in the first half of the thirteenth 
century I 


Dominic left Rome after the Easter festival, 1217, 
and is found a month later in Languedoc affixing 
his signature to a deed of arbitration in favour 
of Prouille. After crossing the Alps by the Pass of 
Mont Genevre and the Rhone by the Pont St 
Esprit; after having seen, at Agde, Bishop Theo- 
diseus ; at Narbonne, Archbishop Arnold Amalric, to 
whom he was the bearer of a pontifical letter; 
and at Carcassonne, Simon de Montfort ; St Dominic 
once more summoned his monks to meet at Prouille. 
This fresh assembly was held on August 15, 1217, 
and was of even greater importance than the one 
of the previous year. It was no longer a question of 
learning under which rule they were to live, but 
of the direction which should be given to the Order 
now definitely founded. 

In spite of the zeal he had displayed during the 
ten years of missionary effort, St Dominic had not 
obtained the results for which he had hoped in the 
county of Toulouse. Sermons, the crusade and 
measures of severity notwithstanding, heresy was 
still formidable, and further, crushed for a moment 
in 12J3, by the battle of Muret, it had again, since 
1215, taken the offensive. 

The Lateran Council had excepted from confisca- 
tion the personal property of the countess, wife of 
Raymond VI. and sister of the King of Aragon, 
because " public report bore witness to her virtue 
and the purity of her faith." ^ While confirming 
the crusaders in the possession of those lands which 

^ Labbe, Concilia, vol. xi. par. i. p. 233, quoting Peter de Vaux 
Cernay, op. cit. 83. 


were in their hands, the Council forbade the conquest 
of any others, placing in sequestration a portion of 
the county of Toulouse, in order to restore it later 
on to the son of Raymond VI. should he renounce 
his father's errors. 

Inspired as they were by a wise moderation, these 
decisions had been interpreted by the Albigenses 
either as a disavowal by the Catholic Church of the 
crusade and of Simon de Montfort, or as an act of 
weakness ; and a large part of the south of France 
had straightway risen in arms. 

Avignon, Saint-Gilles, Beaucaire, Tarascon had 
driven out the invaders; Marseilles had been in 
revolt against its bishop, and in the middle of a 
solemn procession the inhabitants had trampled the 
crucifix and even the Blessed Sacrament under foot. 
From Provence the insurrection had reached the 
Cevennes, and leaving behind him the city of 
Toulouse in a state of the greatest excitement, 
Simon had been compelled to carry the war into 
the neighbourhood of Viviers.^ The Holy See 
having been moved by these tidings, Honorius III., 
since the month of January 1217, had been taking 
measures to revive faith in Languedoc, and it had 
been thither that he had despatched to the Friars 
Preachers, in his bull of January 21, 1217, his 
exhortations and congratulations. He was, besides, 
appealing to fresh missionaries, and on January 19 
he was inducing the University of Paris to send 
several doctors into the province of Toulouse, there 
to keep up controversies with the heretics. Lastly, 

1 For all these facts, cf. History of Langitcdoc, vol. vi., etc. 


oy a bull bearing the same date, he sent the Cardinal 
of SS. John and Paul as legate to the provinces of 
Embrun, Aix, Aries, Vienne, Narbonne, Auch, and to 
the dioceses of Mende, Clermont, Limoges, Rodez, 
Alby, Cahors, Perigueux and Agen, charging him to 
restore peace to these countries, ravaged afresh by 
the heretics.^ 

The legate had his first interview with Simon de 
Montfort on the banks of the Rhone, near Viviers, 
the heretics pressing so close upon the crusaders 
that, having recognised the cardinal amongst Simon's 
troops, they sent several shafts from the cross-bow 
in his direction, killing one of his men. While 
Montfort was thus detained on the banks of the 
Rhone, the people of Toulouse rose in revolt, and on 
September 1, 1217, Raymond VI. re-entered the 
capital of his state, Bishop Foulques was compelled 
to leave it and, on October 1, the siege was begun by 
Simon de Montfort. It was during this recrudescence 
of the heretical forces, and at the moment that all 
boded ill for the crusaders, that Dominic presided 
over the second assembly at Prouille, which had 
opened August 13, barely a fortnight before the 
restoration of Raymond VI. 

It is not difficult to understand how it was that 
under these circumstances Dominic gave way to a 
feeling of despondency, destined, for the rest, to result 
in the greatest glory of his Order. It seemed to 
him that the work of the preachers had been a failure 
in Languedoc, since after ten years a fresh triumph 
of Albigensianism had taken place, and from the 
* Potthast, op. cit. Nos. 5424 and 5437. 


time of his arrival he had been able to gather around 
him no more than seventeen men of good will. Like 
St Bernard, he despaired of this country and cursed 
it. Addressing a mournful discourse to those who 
filled the church at Prouille, he finished with these 
severe words: "For many years I have exhorted 
you in vain, with gentleness, preaching, praying and 
weeping. But, according to the proverb of my own 
country, 'where blessing can accomplish nothing, 
blows may avail.' We shall rouse against you 
princes and prelates, who, alas, will arm nations and 
kingdoms against this land, and many will perish by 
the sword, the country will be laid waste, the walls 
thrown down, and you — oh grief — you will be re- 
duced to servitude ; and thus blows will avail where 
blessings and gentleness have been powerless." ^ 
After thus taking leave of Languedoc, he received 
anew the vows of obedience of the Brethren, making 
known to them the great schemes which he had 
conceived for the furtherance of the Order. Since 
they were rejected by Toulouse, the whole world was 
to be their field of action. Using the words of the 
Saviour Himself: "Go," he bade them, "into the 
whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. 
Ye are still but a little flock; but already I have 
formed in my heart the project of dispersing you 
abroad; you will no longer live altogether in this 
house." " He knew," adds Humbert de Romans, 
" that all seed scattered abroad becomes fruitful — 
that heaped together it grows corrupt." 

Before dispersing his Friars, however, Dominic 
^ Lacordaire, op. cit, p. 171. 


desired to tighten the bonds by which they were 
united. He requested them to select a head, and 
they named Matthew of France, one of their number, 
abbot. The question may be asked why he had this 
election made, since he himself remained the uncon- 
tested master of the Order he had just founded. 
Was it with the object of supplying himself with a 
coadjutor and facilitating, in case of his death, that 
transmission of authority which is so necessary to 
the beginnings of any institution ? Constantine of 
Orvieto attributes the decision to another cause : 
" His intention," he says, " was to secure, at a con- 
venient season, the realisation of a scheme which 
he never ceased to nourish in his heart — the 
evangelisation of infidel nations." ^ Like St Francis, 
when he had gone to preach to the Egyptian 
Sultan, St Dominic had long been desirous of 
visiting barbarous peoples — he had said so to 
William of Montferrat, at the house of Cardinal 
Ugolino,^ and had besides, on leaving Osma, been 
anxious to accompany his bishop, Didacus, to the 
country of the Tartar-Cumans. In the meantime, 
however, he did not resign the supreme power, since 
he reserved to himself the right of reprimand, over 
even the Abbot General who had been just elected 
by the Friars Preachers ; remaining, in reality, the 
true and only head of the Order. 

He proceeded, next, to disperse his monks. The 
account of the scene in the Dominican chronicles 
cannot be read without emotion. Around Dominic 
are only seventeen comrades, laboriously recruited 
I Ac^a SS., August 4. ^ /didem. — Bolognese Documents. 



during ten years of apostolic work ; any other man 
might have despaired when he compared the great- 
ness of the effort with the smallness of the results ; 
the immensity of the new aim which was to be 
pursued with the feebleness of the means of pursu- 
ing it; but Dominic never hesitates. Solemnly he 
makes division of the world amongst his associates. 
Four of them, Peter of Madrid, Michael of Uzero, 
Dominic of Segovia, Suero of Gomez, are to go back 
to Spain ; a more important group, consisting of 
Manes, the saint's own brother, Michael of Fabra, 
Bertrand of Garrigua, Laurence of England, John 
of Navarre and the lay brother Oderic, are to go to 
Paris, led by the abbot, Matthew of France ; Peter 
Seila and Thomas are to remain at St Romanus of 
Toulouse; Noel and William Claret will keep the 
direction of the Sisters of Prouille ; lastly, Dominic 
himself chooses for his dwelling-place and for the 
head-quarters of the Order the centre of Catholic 
unity itself, Rome, taking there v^^ith him Stephen of 

The scheme, once elaborated, had to be put into 
execution, and in this the saint was assisted first of 
all by the arrival of several fresh recruits. Shortly 
after the meeting of Prouille, in the autumn of 1217, 
four new professions were made, including those of 
Arnold of Toulouse, Romeo of Llivia (who was to 
become a saint), Pons of Samatan, and lastly 
Raymond, of the illustrious house of the Counts 
of iMiramont, who, thirteen years later, was to suc- 
ceed Foulques in the episcopal See of Toulouse. 
It was possibly for the training of these novices 


that Dominic still remained some months in Lan- 

He profited by the time to make his final arrange- 
ments. On December 13, while Simon de Mont- 
fort was still carrying on the siege of Toulouse, 
he obtained from him a fresh safeguard for all 
Dominican property within the jurisdiction of the 
seneschals of Carcassonne and of Agen. He came to 
an amicable arrangement with Foulques respecting 
the differences which had arisen between them with 
regard to the parochial dues which the bishop 
desired to withdraw from the Friars Preachers 
(September 13, 1217); and finally he solicited from 
the Holy See fresh tokens of patronage. In spread- 
ing themselves over Spain, France and Italy, the 
monks would find themselves much isolated ; in 
creating their convents, they would have to reckon 
with Ordinaries and ecclesiastical dignitaries, and 
possibly to fear their ill-will. St Dominic obtained 
for them papal letters of recommendation. On 
February 11, 1218,^ Honorius III. addressed to all 
archbishops, bishops, abbots and priors, a bull re- 
questing their favour '♦ on behalf of the Order of 
Friars Preachers, and begging them to assist them 
in their needs," and to forward in every way •' the 
most useful ministry" undertaken by them. Lastly, 
the Pope assured to St Dominic and to his Order a 
permanent habitation at Rome, by assigning to 
them, on the Appian Way, the ancient church of 
St Sixtus, together with the convent attached to it. 

Thenceforth the organisation of the Order, with 
^ Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 156. 


its centre at Rome and its provincial divisions, was 
accomplished ; it only remained for it to multiply its 
monasteries and to expand. It was, in fact, ceasing 
to be a special congregation belonging to the diocese- 
of Toulouse and had become a universal Order. 
Thus, in the month of December 1217, Dominic 
quitted these plains of Lauraguais which had been 
the theatre of his apostolate ; the hill of Fanjeaux 
where his ministry had so long been exercised ; the 
convent of Prouille where he had gathered together 
his first community; the cloister of St Romanus 
which had been the cradle of his Order ; and went 
to Rome to take the general direction of the Friars 
who were spread over the world. 



I EGEND has given itself free rein on the 
'-' subject of this new journey of St Dominic to 
Rome. Many convents have claimed the honour of 
having been founded by the saint in person, and 
with this end have ascribed to him journeys as 
fantastic as they are imaginary. According to 
Malvenda, he established a convent at Venice, dedi- 
cating there a chapel to our Lady of the Rosary; 
going thence to Padua and even to Spalato in 
Dalmatia. According to Jean de Rechac it was 
by Switzerland and the Tyrol that he went from 
Toulouse to Rome. The Bollandists had no difH- 
culty in proving the legendary character of these 
stories. ^ The truth is that after crossing the Alps, 
St Dominic stopped at Milan, where he was received 
by the Canons Regular of San Nazzario ; going from 
thence, attracted by its University, to Bologna ; while 
by the last days of January 1218 he had reached 
Rome, accompanied by five monks : his old comrade 
Stephen of Metz and four new recruits. Brothers 
Otho, Henry, Albert and Gregory. 

Coming to establish the Order of Friars Preachers 
in the Eternal City, he gave himself up more than 

^ Ada SS. August 4. 



ever to the work of preaching. " He exercised with 
fervour, devotion and humility the office for which 
he had been chosen by God and to which the Holy 
See had appointed him, and this upon the chief 
theatre of apostolic authority. Divine grace was 
on his lips, and by his mouth the Lord spake. 
People were eager to hear him." ^ Thierry of Apoldia 
makes mention of the sermons given by him in the 
church x)f St Mark at the foot of the Capijtpl.^ 

He performed at the same time the most laborious 
works of mercy, attracted, above all, by prisoners, 
as was later on St Vincent de Paul. " Almost every 
day he made the round of the town in order to visit 
the captives,^ lavishing upon them the word of salva- 
tion." It was not long before the people were 
touched by his apostolic zeal and charity ; he was 
venerated as a saint and relics were made out of his 
possessions ; •' they cut off surreptitiously pieces 
from his cloak, until it scarcely reached his knees."^ 
Cardinals heaped upon him signs of respect, and 
the Pope himself on one occasion desired to bring to 
the knowledge of all, by means of a solemn letter, 
a miracle publicly attributed to the saint.^ 

Honorius III. was not long in bestowing on St 
Dominic and his order fresh signs of confidence and 

^ Ai/a SS., vol. i. Aug., p. 574. 

"^ IbidefH. 

^ According to some manuscripts it was rather a question of 
recluses. Lacordaire has adopted this reading, in h\s Li/e of Si 
Dominic^ p. 191. 

■♦ Lacordaire, op. cit. p. 186. 

* He gave up his intention in consequence of St Dominic's 
humble opposition. 


favour. The feudal wars by which Rome had been 
wasted under Gregory VII., Gelasius II., Lucius II. 
and Alexander III., in the time of Robert Guiscard, 
of Frangipani and of Arnold of Brescia, had brought 
especial ruin upon the quarters lying between the 
Palatine and the gate of St Sebastian, where the 
solitary districts so characteristic of those parts of 
Rome, already stretched. The old titular church 
of St Sixtus stood, melancholy and forsaken, by 
the side of the tombs which marked the outline 
of the Appian Way. Innjocent III. had already 
considered the question of restoring its ancient glory 
to this sanctuary ; it had been made over by him to 
the congregation recently founded in England by St 
Gilbert, with the obligation of keeping four monks 
there to serve the church and to undertake the 
spiritual charge of the convent of women which 
he wished to found. Now, six years later, in 1218, 
the Gilbertines not having yet taken possession of 
the church, Hpnorius III. revoked the deed of his 
predecessor and summoned St Dominic and his 
associates to St Sixtus.^ 

Some delay occurred in their installation, the 
church and the conventual house adjoining it stand- 
ing in need of restoration ; whilst it was also 
necessary to take measures to oppose the applica- 
tions addressed to the Holy See by the monks of St 
Gilbert that the gift which had been made to them 
might be confirmed. In spite of all these hindrances, 
however, a papal bull, dated December 3, 1218, 
definitely took the church of St Sixtus away from 
* Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 159. 


the English monks to bestow it upon the Preaching 
Friars ; ^ and St Dominic and his brethren immedi- 
ately quitted their original lodging, to found upon 
the Appian Way, in the solitude and retirement of 
the ruins, their first Roman monastery. 

Its beginnings were no less modest than those of 
Prouille and of St Romanus : " When the Brethren 
were at St Sixtus," relates Constantine of Orvieto,^ 
"the Order being still unknown in the town, they 
often had to suffer from hunger. On a certain day 
it even chanced that the procurator Giacomo del 
Mielo had no bread wherewith to serve the com- 
munity. In the morning several friars had been 
sent out to beg, but after having knocked in vain at 
many doors they had returned to the convent, almost 
empty-handed. The hour for the meal approach- 
ing, the procurator presents himself to the servant 
of God and unfolds to him the case. Dominic, 
trembling with joy, blesses the Lord with transport, 
and as if penetrated by a confidence which came 
from on high, commands that the little bread which 
has been brought shall be shared amongst the friars. 
Now there were in the convent about forty persons. 
The signal being given, the friars come to the 
refectory and in joyous accents recite the prayers 
of the grace. Whilst each one, seated in order, 
breaks with gladness the mouthful of bread which 
has been placed before him, two young men of 
similar aspect enter the refectory ; from their necks 

* Balme, op. cit. 

'^ This translation is borrowed from Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. 
p. 163. 


are hung white cloths filled with bread sent by the 
celestial Breadmaker, alone capable of manufactur- 
ing the like. In silence the two messengers place 
the loaves at the upper end of the table, in front 
of the place occupied by the Blessed Dominic, 
disappearing without anyone having attained to the 
knowledge of whence they came and whither they 
are gone. As soon as they are departed Dominic, 
stretching out his hand, bids them, • Eat now, my 
brothers.' " 

The Preaching Friars once in possession of St 
Sixtus, Honorius III., taking up again his pre- 
decessor's scheme, began to think of founding a 
convent of women there. The Roman convents had 
fallen into decay; the cloister was no longer ob- 
served ; the contemplative life seemed on the de- 
cline, and women who desired to practise it in 
its severity had themselves immured in little cells 
constructed specially for them and lived there as 
recluses. It had become an urgent matter to restore 
its primitive holiness to conventual life. As the 
monks of St Gilbert took charge of cloistered nuns 
affiliated to their Order, Innocent III., in making 
them the gift of St Sixtus, had asked that they 
should collaborate in his work of reform. In their 
default, Honorius III. addressed himself to St 
Dominic, the saint having founded a convent at 
Prouille already noted for the strictness of its 
observances. It was therefore decided that nuns ,'1 
should be brought from Prouille to St Sixtus ; that 
others desirous of quitting the Roman convents in 
order to adopt a contemplative life of greater severity 


should be added to their number; and that this 
model convent should be under the direction, in 
spiritual and temporal matters, of St Dominic and 
his friars. Later on, it was intended to send nuns 
from St Sixtus into the various convents at Rome, 
in order that monastic reform might win admiration 
and acceptation. 

To accomplish this work, as important as it was 
delicate, St Dominic requested the concurrence of 
persons carrying authority by reason of their virtue 
and of their high position at the pontifical court; 
Honorius III. giving him as associates Stephen 
Orsini, cardinal of Fossanova, of the titular church 
of the Holy Apostles, the cardinal bishop of Tusculum, 
and lastly Ugolino, cardinal of Ostia, all devoted 
friends of St Dominic. " Provided with the apostolic 
commission," relates one of the first nuns of St 
Sixtus,^ " Dominic in the first place addresses him- 
self with confidence to all the nuns of Rome; but 
they refuse to obey the orders of the saint and 
of the Pope. At the convent of Santa Maria 
del Trastevere, however, 2 containing the greatest 
number of all, the saint is better received. At 
the head of this house is the venerable Sister 
Eugenia : the abbess and her daughters allow 

^ Narrative of Sister Cecilia, one of the nuns transferred from 
Santa Maria del Trastevere to St Sixtus. 

' This church and convent must not be confounded with the 
ancient titular church of Santa Maria del Trastevere and the fine 
basilica of that name. It is a question here of a church called 
Santa Maria in Torre in Trastevere, which is still in existence, 
not far from the shore of the Tiber and near the titular church of 
St Cecilia. 


themselves to be won over by the pious exhorta- 
tions of the saint, and all, with one exception, 
promise to enter St Sixtus, on the sole condition 
that their image of the Virgin shall go with them ; 
and that if she returns to her own church beyond 
the Tiber, as had once happened, they may be by 
that fact released from their engagement.^ The 
saint willingly accepts that condition ; the sisters 
make their profession anew in his hands ; and 
the blessed father tells them that it is not his 
will that henceforth they shall leave the convent 
to visit their kin. Hearing this, the latter hasten 
to the monastery, addressing lively reproaches to 
the abbess and her associates for working the des- 
truction of an illustrious house and placing them- 
selves in the hands of a ribald person. Dominic 
is supernaturally acquainted with this hindrance; 
one morning he comes to the convent of Santa 
Maria, celebrates Mass, and preaching to the 
sisters, says : * My daughters, you are already 
regretting your determination, and are thinking of 
withdrawing your feet from the Lord's path. I 
desire therefore that those who, of their free will, 
have decided to enter, should make their profession 

1 It was one of those old Byzantine Madonnas, ascribed by 
legend to St Luke, which are still in the present day so highly 
venerated by the Romans. It was transferred in procession to 
St Sixtus, but by night, for fear of the dwellers in the Trastevere, 
v/ho would not have allowed the translation to take place. It 
remained at St Sixtus until, under the pontificate of Pius V., it 
was transferred with the nuns of the convent to the church of 
SS. Dominic and Sixtus, near the Trajan column, where it is still, 
at this very time, venerated. 


anew in my hands.' Some amongst them had in 
truth repented of their sacrifice, but, coming to a 
better mind, they renew all their vows. When 
this has been done the saint takes the keys of the 
convent, and assumes full authority over everything; 
he establishes there lay brothers who will have 
charge of it day and night, and will furnish the 
sisters in their cloister with all that they need; 
while he forbids the latter to speak without witnesses 
either to their own relations or to any other 
person." ^ 

The example of the Sisters of the Trastevere 

spread, and there was soon in every Roman 

monastery a reforming party determined to follow 
to the end the advice of the Friars Preachers. 
When the buildings at St Sixtus^ were ready for 
habitation the nuns from the Trastevere, many from 
Santa Bibiana, and also from other convents, and 
some high-born ladies took possession, to the 
number of forty-four, on the first Sunday in Lent 
1220. St Dominic placed them under the direction 
of one of his brothers, and for prioress gave them 
a sister from Prouille. The reforms desired by 
Innocent III. and Honorius III. were now accom- 
plished, and the Dominican Order owned a second 

The sanctity of Dominic produced meanwhile more 
and more religious vocations. Young people of every 
sort and condition wished to enter the new Order 

* Balme, op. cit. 410; Lacordaire, op. cit. p. 190. 

* It was during this work that St Dominic restored to life 
Napoleon Orsini, the nephew of the Cardinal of Fossanova. 


of Friars Preachers ; indeed, says Thierry of Apoldia, 
sejveral families became alarmed at the powerful 
attraction the house of St Sixtus exercised over 
the minds of their children. " One day," he says,^ 
" Dominic, that servant of Christ, had admitted one 
Henry, a handsome German youth of noble birth and 
still more noble conduct and manners. His angiy 
relatives sought a means of wresting him from the 
Order. Hearing of this, the blessed father prudently 
provided the young man with companions to escort 
him elsewhere. Brother Henry had crossed the 
Tiber near the Via Nomentana, when on the opposite 
bank some of his kinsfolk began the pursuit. The 
novice was on the point of recommending himself to 
God when, lo and behold, the Tiber rose so high 
that the friends were unable to cross it even on 
horseback. Stupefied at what they saw they retired, 
Reaving the youth more than ever confirmed in his 
vocation. Seeing them disappear, the brothers on 
their side returned to St Sixtus, and as they 
approached the river the waters fell to their ordin- 
ary level, affording them an easy passage." The 
saint was, in a few months, destined to see a large 
increase in the number of his Roman disciples. In 
1218 there were only the five friars who had accom- 
panied him from Rome; towards the end of 1219 '; 
more than forty Religious were established at St 
Sixtus — indeed, if we may believe the man^ellous 
accounts of St Cecilia, they numbered over a 
hundred. Though the house of St Sixtus had been 
enlarged by St Dominic, it seemed to be always grow- 

^ Acta Sanctorum, 4th August. 


ing smaller; by the time the women's convent was 
established there it was too small to hold them. 
It became necessary to find another refuge for the 
Friars Preachers, and it was once again Pope 
Honorius III. who presented them with it. 

On the summit of the Aventine, whose steep slopes 
dominate the Tiber and the utmost limits of the 
Eternal City, there stands to this day the titular 
church of Santa Sabina. Founded at the beginning 
of the fifth century under the pontificate of Celestinus 
I., it even now preserves a character of venerable 
antiquity, with its rows of pillars, its open roof, 
mosaics, and the beautiful carved wooden doors, 
fine as well as authentic examples of Roman 
art.^ In the thirteenth century this basilica with 
its presbytery were under the protection of the illus- 
trious family of the Savelli, of whom Honorius III. 
was a member. The Pope himself enjoyed the 
feudal palace as a place of residence. After having 
been in the tenth century the abode of the imperial 
dynasty of Otho, it had become the property ^ of 
this family. Many of the papal bulls, and par- 
ticularly those encouraging the order of the Friars 
Preachers, were dated from the palace of Santa 
Sabina. When a fresh abode for St Dominic and 
his friars had to be found, the Pope naturally 
thought of the basilica. He gave it to them in 
1219, and solemnly confirmed them in its possession 

^ Artnellini, Le c/iiese di Rotna, p. 582 ; and by the Rev. Father 
Berthier, Jm Porte de Saint e Sabine d Rome. 

'^ In 1 2 16 Honorius III. restored the old imperial palace and 
fortified it by surrounding it with high towers and strong walls 
whose ruins may still be seen on the Aventine. 


on June 5, 1222. "We have thought well," he 
said to them, " in the interest of many, and with 
the consent of our brother cardinals, and especially 
of the titular cardinal of Santa Sabina, to give you 
the church of Santa Sabina for the celebration of 
masses, and the neighbouring houses, till now in- 
habited by clerics, for your abode ; reserving, how- 
ever, the place where the baptistry is, with the 
neighbouring garden and a lodging for two priests 
who shall have charge of the parish and the property 
of the Church." As soon as the alterations were 
completed, towards the end of January 1220, "the 
utensils, books, and other objects necessary for the 
use of the friars were brought in," and presently St 
Dominic, leaving at St Sixtus only those religious 
devoted to the spiritual and temporal care of the 
sisters, established himself with his companions at 
Santa Sabina. Thus was founded the first authorised 
Novitiate of the Order, which remained till 1273 ^ the 
residence of the Master General, and in our own 
days witnessed the reconstitution of the Dominican 
Province of France through the generosity of 

To establish his Order in the very centre of 
Catholicism was not enough for St Dominic. He 
never forgot that the work of preaching necessi- 
tates profound study in those who practise it; he 
had^ himself studied for long at Palencia, and had 

^ At this time the residence of the Master General of the Order 
was transferred to the centre of the town, to Santa Maria della 
Minerva, whose convent remained the General House of the 
Order till the spoliation of the religious Orders by Young Italy, 


written a Biblical Commentary before engaging in 
learned controversy with the heretics. He had no 
doubt absolute confidence in the spirit of God, which 
enlightens the minds even of the ignorant; he felt 
certain that without the aid of divine grace no 
human eloquence can bear fruit, but he was far from 
thinking that men should idly expect from Heaven 
the means of action. The Friar Preacher must, 
like himself, unite knowledge to piety, and conquer 
heretical obstinacy by argument as well as by good 
example. Study was to be one of the principal 
occupations of the novice; knowledge one of the 
most redoubtable w^eapons of the Dominican. With 
this end in view the new Order was to seek such 
places of learning as Bologna and Paris, for their 
intellectual influence extended over the whole 
Christian world and attracted to their midst, and 
about their professorial chairs, students of every 
tongue and nation. Established in such centres, the 
Dominican convents would be at once homes of 
study and of prayer. When their hearts and minds 
had been trained and prepared, the Religious might 
spread themselves abroad over the whole civilised 
world, thanks to the international relations formed 
at the Universities and the prestige they had won by 
their studies. When St Dominic founded the houses 
of Paris and Bologna he had a clear conception 
of this plan, for he gave them as heads Master 
Matthew, " a learned man ready to meet every point 
of doctrine," and the Blessed Reginald, Doctor of 
Law, and formerly a Professor of Law. 
When, after the General Assembly of Prouille, the 


monks were dispersed by St Dominic, Alatthew of 
France left for Paris with the three companions 
the master had intrusted to him, Bertrand of 
Garrigua, Laurence of England, and John of 
Navarre. The last was to complete at the University 
the studies he had already begun. Friar Matthew, 
as a native of the I le-de- France, and a friend of 
Simon .de Montfort, could depend on useful pat- 
ronage. He took with him, besides, the Rules the 
Pope had just signed " for the establishment and ex- 
tension of the Order." He was soon joined by three 
other monks: Manes„ St Dominic's own brother, 
Michael of Fabra, and the lay brother Oderic. The 
little colony of monks reached Paris at the be- 
ginning of October 1217. They hired a modestfi 
house between the Hotel- Dieu and the episcopal 
palace. Matthew of France became its Superior, 
and Michael de Fabra took charge of the studies 
with the title of Lecturer. 

Thanks to the protection which Philip Augustus > 
had accorded them during his whole reign, the 
schools of Paris were at this time the most flourish- 
ing in Europe. Innocent HI. had just conferred 
on them important privileges which his successors 
were to confirm and increase. The various 
faculties had been firmly attached together and 
were at length known under the common name 
of University. Attracted by the immunities 
granteH^them by the kings and popes, students 
flocked to Paris from every province in France, 
enrolling themselves according to their origin and 
birthplace. The four nations were already diff^er- 
'h " 


entiated — French, Picards, Normans and English. 
But besides these the University contained students 
of all countries which invested it with an ecumenical 
character. Does not Arnold Lubeck, a Danish 
chronicler of that day, mention that his country- 
men, like the Germans, sent their best students to 
Paris to follow the curriculum including theology, 
the liberal arts, and civil and canonical law? It 
was the same in Spain, Italy, Scotland, Hungary, 
Bohemia, Poland, and even in the Scandinavian 

In the midst of these thousands of students the 
seven disciples of St Dominic passed at first un- 
noticed, but their assiduity soon attracted the atten- 
tion of the University to their modest demeanour. 

They gained the favour of one of the most 
celebrated masters of the University, who presented 
them with a house in Paris. Jean de Barastre, Dean 
of St Quentin, the illustrious professor of theology, 
had in 1209 built a small hospice which he dedi- 
cated to St Jacques. It was opposite the church 
of St Etienne des Ores, not far from the Porte 
d'Orleans. On August 6 he gave it to Matthew 
of France and his six friends, who thus acquired 
a fixed abode. "The Friars," says John of Navarre 
some time later, " established themselves there and 
founded a convent, where they gathered together 
many good clerics who afterwards entered the Order 

^ For the history of the Paris University at the beginning of the 
thirteenth century, cf. Denifle O. P., Les Universii^s mi vioyen 
Age {all.)y vol. i. pp. 67 and following pages; 84 and following 


of Friars Preachers. Much property and revenues T 
were then given to them and everything succeeded 
as St Dominic had predicted." ^ 

This growing prosperity gave offence to th^/ 
chapter of Notre Dame. The church of St Jacques 
was built on the ground belonging to the parish of 
St Benoit, which itself depended on the chapter.- 
Fearing that the services in the monks' chapel would 
damage the parochial rights of St Benoit, the 
canons forbade the Dominicans to celebrate public .^ 
worship at St Jacques. On his arrival in Paris the? 
matter was put into the hands of St Dominic by 
Matthew of France, and he referred it to the 
Holy See. He gained his case: on December 1, 
1219, Honorius III. wrote to the convent of St 
Jacques that, " touched by their appeal he gave them 
leave to celebrate the Divine Office in the church 
in Paris given them by the monks of the University " ; 
and on December 1 1 he charged the Priors of St 
Denis, of St Germain des Pres, as well as the 
chancellor of the church in Milan, then in Paris, 
to see that the privilege was respected. ^ The 

^ Ads of Bolopm. 

2 "The church of St Benoit le Bestournc, once known as St 
Bacche or Bacque, was given to the Canons of the Cathedral by 
Henry I., also the churches of St Etienne, St Julien and St Severin. 
It is called a member of the church of N.-D. in an act of the year 
1 171 passed between it and the Hospitallers of St John of 
Jerusalem for the settlement of their respective rights. It had 
canons appointed by the chapter of Notre Dame to which they 
swore fealty." Guerard, Cartulaire de Vi^glise Noire Dame de 
Paris ^ p. 130. 

3 These two bulls are published in the Cartulaire de Saint 
Dominique^ vol. ii. p. 3S7 and 388. 


chancellor of Notre Dame, Philippe de Greye, never 
forgave the Preachers their victory; till his death, 
which occurred in 1237, "he snarled at them on 
every occasion and in every sermon." But St 
Dominic carefully watched over his Paris convent. 
At his request Honorius III. complimented the 
masters of the University on the favours they 
showered on it, and encouraged them to continue: 
"That you may still further understand the pro- 
found regard in which we hold these Friars we 
do by these presents advise and enjoin on you to 
pursue the work you have so well begun. For the 
sake of the apostolic See and our own, look on them 
as being peculiarly commended to you, and lend 
them a helping hand. In so doing God will prosper 
you, and you will more and more deserve our good- 
will and favour." ^ 

Before long, in Paris as in Rome, numerous 
religious vocations began> to people the Dominican 
house. When they had come from Prouille in 
October 1217 they were only seven friars; there 
were thirty fifteen months later, when St Dominic 
visited them at the beginning of 1219. The new 
recruits were mostly young students attracted to St 
Jacques by the holiness of their Dominican co- 
disciples, such as Father Guerric of Metz, whose 
call to the religious life is thus charmingly described 
by Etienne de Bourbon. In Paris in 1218, on a quiet 
evening in autumn, " a clerk was gazing from his 
study windows when suddenly in the street he heard 
someone singing in French the following song : — 
* Cartulaire de Saint Dominique^ vol. iii. (in the press). 


Le temps s'en vait 
El rien n'ai fait ; 
Le temps s'en vient 
Et ne fais rien. 

At first only the sweetness of the music struck him, 
then the sense of the words, and reflecting that they 
suited his own case he received them as a heavenly 
message. The very next day the young man, who 
was rich, gave up his possessions and entered the 
Order of Friars Preachers. His name was Guerric, 
and he was the first prior of the Friars of Metz, 
whose convent he founded." 

From this time the house in Paris became a 
centre of expansion for the Order; and as in 1217 
the monks of Prouille and St Romanus had been 
dispersed by St Dominic through different countries, 
so Matthew of France distributed his over the 
different French provinces. Peter Seiia, who had 
come from Toulouse to Paris after the death of 
Simon de Montfort, left it in the February of 1220 
with many of the friars from St Jacques to found 
the convent of Limoges, "where he passed his 
declining years like a prophet of old, honoured and 
respected by the clergy and the people." The 
same year the Archbishop of Rheims, Alberic de 
Humbert, and his successor William of Joinville, 
summoned to their town the Preachers of Paris; 
soon afterwards Friar Guerric left Paris to found a 
convent of his Order at Metz under the paternary.' 
roof. The following year Brother William conducted' 
a fresh colony of monks to Poitiers, and the bishop 
and chapter of that town at once granted them the 


church of St Christophe with a vineyard and the 
place and land attached to it. The Bishop of 
Orleans, Manasses, an old friend of St Dominic, for 
his part, invited them to his episcopal See and 
allotted to them the church of Saint Germain 
near the fortifications. The House of St Jacques 
became in this way the Dominican Novitiate for the 
whole of France. 

The convent in Bologna played the same part in 

The University of that town was as celebrated as 
the one in Paris; the reputation of its jurists and 
canonists was widespread. In the time of St 
Dominic, Odofredo of Benevento and Albert of Pavia 
lectured on civil law with much brilliance ; the arch- 
deacon Tancred, John of Spain, Gilbert of England, 
Chiaro di Sexto, John the Teuton and Raymond ot 
Pennaforte on canonical law; and Roland of 
Cremona and Moneta on the liberal arts. These 
masters, who came from every Christian country, 
were soon surrounded by thousands of students of 
every nationality. By reason of its profound learn- 
ing and its European renown the University of 
Bologna was, as in the case of the one in Paris, 
destined to attract St Dominic's attention. 

It was after the feast of Easter 1218 that he 
decided to send there from Rome three of his friars. 
Honorius III., always full of indulgence for the 
Order, gave them letters of introduction, ^ and at the 
end of April they set forth. They went to a modest 
hostelry in the suburbs, established for the benefit 
* Cartnlaire de Saifii Dominiijufy vol. ii. p. 183. 


of pilgrims and travellers and kept by the Canons 
Regular of the Abbey of Roncevalles. *' That 
year, 1218," says a Bolognese chronicler,^ "three 
friars of the Order of Friars Preachers came 
to Bologna for the first time, saying they had 
been sent by a certain Master Dominic, a Spaniard. 
As they seemed to be holy men, the church of 
Santa Maria della Mascarella was given them." 
The early days of the foundation were difficult. 
" The friars," says Jordan of Saxony, " suffered all 
the misery of extreme poverty."^ But on the arrival 
of the Blessed Reginald all was changed. 
/ As a Doctor of Law Reginald ^ had from 1206 
taught canonical law with great brilliance in the 
University of Paris; in 1212 he was made Dean of 
the important collegiate church of St Aignan of 
Orleans. Now in 1218 he went to Rome to pray 
at the apostles' tomb, meaning to proceed to the 
Holy Land. "But already," says Humbert de 
Romans,"^ " God had inspired him with the wish to 
forsake all to preach the gospel. He was preparing 
himself for the work, hardly knowing how to proceed, 
for he was not aware that an Order of Friars 
Preachers had been established. Now it happened 
that in conversation with a cardinal he opened his 
heart on the subject by saying how he hoped to 
give up everything to preach Christ everywhere 
in voluntary poverty. The cardinal replied : '* It 

^ Bibl. Univ. de Bologna. — Chron. of Borselli. 

^ Jordan of Saxony, Script. Ord. Prcedic. vol. i. p. i8. 

^ See notice on him by Echard, Script. Ord. Prcedic. vol. i. p. 89. 

* Humbert de Romanis, ap. Boll. Acta SS., 4th August. 


happens that an Order has just now come into 
existence whose object it is to unite poverty with 
the office of preaching, and the master who him- 
self preaches God's Word is in this very town." 
Hearing this Master Reginald set off in haste to 
find the Blessed Dominic and to make known to him 
the secret of his soul. He was fascinated by the 
appearance of the saint and the eloquence of his 
discourse, and he there and then resolved to enter 
the Order." ^ " He made his profession in the hands 
of St Dominic," continues the Blessed Jordan, "and 
at the request of his bishop, and with the permission 
of the saint, he crossed the sea and on his return 
went to Bologna." - 

His legal studies and his reputation as a pro- 
fessor of canon law made him the proper person 
to direct the humble convent that had just been 
founded in the town of Law. He arrived there on 
December 21, 1218, and at once began to preach. 
" His words burn," says Jordan, *♦ his eloquence 
like a flaming torch sets the hearts of his hearers 
on fire. Bologna is in flames. It is as though 
a second Elias had arisen." ^ His reputation as 

^ The oldest chroniclers of the Order report that soon afterwards 
in one of his illnesses Reginald saw in a vision our Lady and that 
she showed him the habit the monks were to adopt instead of the 
dress of the Canons Regular which they had till then worn ((/. 
Jordan of Saxony, No. 34; Constantine d'Orvieto, No, 24.) 

' Jordan of Saxony, No. 35. 

^ Jordan of Saxony : " Coepit autem prcedicationi totus insistere 
et ignitum erat ejus eloquium vehementer, sermoque ipsius, quasi 
facula ardens, corda cunctorum audientium inflammabat. . . . 
Tota tunc fervebat Bononia, quia norus insurrexisse videbatur 


a scientist attracted an audience both of students 
and masters and very soon none of them were able 
to escape his influence. Many left the world to 
seek the humble roof of the Mascarella ; Reginald's 
eloquence so increased the number of vocations that 
heads of families and professors began to dread the 
irresistible attraction the preacher exerted on their 
children and pupils. In his Lives of the Friars, 
Gerard de Frachet gives an anecdote showing the 
power of language possessed by Reginald. i " When 
Brother Reginald of blessed memory, formerly Dean 
of Orleans, preached in Bologna and attracted into 
the Order churchmen and doctors of renown, 
Master Moneta gave instruction in the arts, and 
was famous all over Lombardy. Seeing the con- 
version of so many men he began to be afraid for 
himself. He therefore carefully avoided Brother 
Reginald and tried to keep his own students away 
from him. But on the feast of St Stephen his 
pupils dragged him off to hear the sermon, and 
because he could not resist their importunity or 
for some other reason, he said : ' Let us go 
first to St Proclus and hear mass.' They went, 
and heard not one mass only but three, for Moneta 
hoped to gain time and thus avoid the sermon. 
But his pupils continued to press him till he 
at length said, 'We will go now.' When they 
reached the church the sermon was still proceeding, 
and the crowd was so great that Moneta was 
obliged to stay by the door. He had scarcely 
begun to listen when he was conquered. The 
* Gerard de Frachet, Fu da Fr^res, liv. iv. chap. x. 


orator was at that instant exclaiming: 'I see 
Heaven open 1 yea, open for those who wish to see, 
who long to enter. The doors are open to those who 
would fain press in. Do not shut your heart, your 
mouth, your hands, lest Heaven also close on you. 
Why do you pause ? Heaven opens for you ! ' As 
soon as Reginald had left the pulpit, Moneta, touched 
by God, sought the preacher to make known his 
state of mind and his difficulties, and then made 
his vows of obedience in his hands. As his 
numerous duties interfered wnth his freedom of 
action he continued to wear his ordinary dress for 
a year, though he worked with all his might to 
bring fresh hearers and new disciples. Sometimes 
it would be one person, sometimes another, and 
whenever he made a conquest it seemed to him 
each time as though he were himself taking the 

Many of these Bolognese who entered the Order 
through the ministrations of the Blessed Reginald 
are known to us. Amongst them may be mentioned 
Chiaro di Sesto, who taught the liberal arts and 
canon law at the University, and who later became 
provincial of Rome and filled the office of papal 
penitentiary; Paul of Venice who, by his own 
account, " made his profession in the hands of 
Master Reginald and received the habit of the 
Order on the Sunday of the Gospel of the Canaanite 
woman (March 3), 1219"; Friar Guala, the most 
celebrated of the masters of art in the University ; 
and Roland of Cremona, who made his profession 
under peculiar circumstances, 


The Bologna convent had been growing dis- 
couraged. Two of the monks were about to desert it, 
and Reginald was attempting to restore confidence 
to the friars assembled in Chapter. "He had 
scarcely finished speaking when," says Gerard de 
Frachet, " Roland of Cremona was seen to enter. 
He was a well-known professor at the University, 
an eminent philosopher and the first of the Order 
who had publicly taught theology in Paris. Driven 
by the Holy Spirit he had come alone and of his 
own initiative to the door of the convent. They 
brought him into the Chapter House, and there, 
as though drunk with the Holy Ghost, he, without 
further preamble, begged to be received. Formerly 
on feast days, clad in rich scarlet, he had made merry 
with his friends, in feasting, games, and all kinds of 
pleasures. When at night he came to himself, in- 
wardly touched by grace, he would ask: 'Where 
is now the feast just celebrated, where the mad 
gaiety ? ' and reflecting how quickly pleasure passes 
away and changes to grief he entered the Order, 
where he served the Lord for many years in wisdom 
and holiness." 

Following on these many professions the com- 
munity soon found the humble house of the Masca- 
rella too small, and after 1219 Reginald began to 
look out for another dwelling. This was the church 
of San Nicola delle Vigne. With the consent of 
the bishop it was given up by its rector Rudolfo, 
Doctor of Law, who took the Preacher's habit ; and 
soon afterwards Peter Lovello and his wife Otta, at 
the request of their daughter Diana, bestowed on 


the friars the land and houses near the church. 
From this time dates the definite foundation of the 
great monastery of Bologna, destined to possess and 
to preserve to our own day the precious relics of St 

Scarce a year after its establishment it had 
so prospered that monastic colonies could be sent 
out to Lombardy, Tuscany and the environs of 

St Dominic came on a four months' visit to San 
Nicola delle Vigne from July till November, and 
himself undertook to train as novices the monks he 
intended to send out. To teach them how to love 
and cherish the spirit of poverty he tore up before 
their eyes a deed assuring important revenues to the 
monastery. To set them an example of regularity, 
" he shared their common life and rigorously practised 
fasting and other observances. If he perceived any 
infraction of the rule he punished the delinquent 
with mildness, and however severe might be the 
penance it was inflicted with so much gentleness 
and kindness that no one could be angry. He 
willingly gave dispensations to others, never to him- 
self. He kept strict silence during the hours pre- 
scribed by the Order and at other times spoke rarely 
and then only to or of God. On the subject of 
silence some of his most pressing exhortations to 
his friars were made. If in the Refectory (which 
he regularly attended) the friars had two dishes on 
their table he ate but one, and though exhausted by 
severe vigils he took little food or drink. He was 
assiduous at the choir office, and was at times so 


plunged in his devotions that no sound could distract 
him from them." ^ 

When Dominic had trained his disciples in this 
manner he sent them forth in every direction. 
Guala founded the convent of Bergamos ; the 
Dominican tradition reported by Bernard Guidonis 
towards 1300 gave this monastery the second rank 
as to age in the province of Lombardy, placing it 
immediately after that in Bologna. ^ 

The convent at Milan was founded shortly after- 
wards. When coming back across the mountains 
and staying in that town St Dominic had been 
begged to send there some of his friars. It was 
infested by heretical Waldenses and Patarins and 
seemed in special need of the Preacher's zeal. This 
was enough for St Dominic; he was hardly back 
in Bologna before he had chosen two of his 
best Religious, Giacomo d'Aribaldi and Roboald de 
Monza and despatched them to Milan. There they 
arrived in the early days of 1220 and accepted 
hospitality from the Chapter of San Nazzario, 
who had welcomed the master on each of his 

It seemed a favourable opportunity for the 
establishment of a Dominican convent in that 
town. The friend and protector of the Order, the 
Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, Ugolino, had been sent 
to^ Milan by Pope Honorius III. to negotiate a 
peace between that powerful city and the neigh- 
bouring commune of Cremona. Besides Hugh of 

^ Ac/s of Bologna, 

^ Quetif and Echard, op. cit. vol. i. p. 20. 


Setara, Cimeliarch, vicar of the archbishop, the 
majority of the Chapter were quite won over 
to the new comers as soon as they had heard 
them preach and had witnessed the wonderful 
results of their apostolic zeal. The Cardinal 
of Ostia set in motion every possible means 
for keeping the Dominicans in Milan and finding 
them a permanent abode. He chose for this pur- 
pose the church of St Eustorgio. The priests 
who served it resigned their offices, and taking 
with them their sacred vessels, ornaments, and 
revenues, they retired to the church of San 
Lorenzo. Ugolino replaced them by the Friars 
Preachers, who found St Eustorgio in great 
poverty. The sixty pounds of revenue which 
remained to it scarce sufficed for the most 
needful repairs, and poverty once again presided 
at the establishment of the Preachers. On March 
15, 1220, the Order received from the Pope's 
representatives and the Archbishop of Milan the 
church of St Eustorgio. ^ 

The town of Viterbo at the same time received the 
disciples of St Dominic. It was on the way to 
become one of the principal residences of the Holy 
See. Several popes of the twelfth century had 
stayed in it; Innocent III. had passed part of the 
years of 1207 and 1209 there; and finally Honorius 
III. had just established himself there in October 
1219, when St Dominic left Bologna for the Roman 
Curia. It was this that decided him to found a 
convent of his Order in that city. He confided the 
^ Quctif and Echard. 



task to five Religious whom he brought with him 
from Bologna in November 1219, Bonviso, Paul 
of Venice, William of Montferrat, Fougerio and 

Tlie new convent found the best possible support 
in the person of the celebrated Rainiero Capocci, 
cardinal of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Filled with a 
special devotion for the virgin, Capocci saw in a 
vision a noble lady of incomparable beauty holding 
in her hand a lighted taper ; she took the Cardinal 
by the hand and led him to a neighbouring forest, to 
a large portion of which she set fire with her taper. 
Awakening with a start, Capocci was eager to 
discover the meaning of this curious vision. He 
consulted Albus, a venerable saint who lived in soli- 
tude not far from Viterbo and whose wise advice he 
had already followed on more than one occasion. 
Now it happened that on the same night Albus had 
himself seen the Mother of God seated on her 
royal throne, and that she had revealed to him her 
designs with regard to Cardinal Capocci. She 
wished him to build her a church in the forest where 
she had led him in his dream. Informed of this by 
Albus, Capocci obeyed the command of the Blessed 
Virgin, and not far from San Martino di Monti, in 
the midst of the wood, he undertook the construc- 
tion of a magnificent church. It was hardly begun 
when he became friends with St Dominic and 
offered it to him for his Religious with the convent 
he had built. Such was the marvellous origin of the 
monastery of Santa Maria a Gradi, which was soon 
famous owing to its splendid libraiy, due to the 


liberality of Capocci, and the artistic treasures of 
its church (1220).i 

As though anxious to show his preference for 
Spain, his own country, St Dominic paid particular 
attention to the diffusion of the Order through the 
kingdoms of Aragon, Castille and Portugal. After 
the Assembly of Prouille, August 1217, he sent over 
the Pyrenees in one direction Suero Gomez and 
•Peter of Madrid, and in another Michael of Uzero, 
and Dominic of Segovia. The two first preached 
with success in Portugal; the others were less 
fortunate, and " because they did not obtain the 
expected fruit of their labours they, after a few 
months of painful and useless work, rejoined the 
blessed father in Italy." St Dominic felt it was 
necessary to strengthen with his own hands the 
uncertain work of his disciples. Taking with him 
Dominic of Segovia he set out for Spain towards 
the end of the year 1218; he crossed the Pyrenees 
by the pass of Roncevalles, passed through Pampe- 
luna and doubtless visited Burgos to lay before the 
king of Castille the pontifical bulls putting the Order 
under apostolic patronage. He preached in each 
of these halting places, and then passed on to 
Segovia where he founded the first Spanish convent 
of the Order (February 1219). After having placed 
Friar Corbolan at the head of the infant monastery 
he continued his way southwards, and at Madrid 
rejoined Peter of Medina. The latter had been 
more than a year in the exercise of his apostolic 

^ We borrow this narrative from Ciaconius, Historia Poniificiim 
Romanorum et S. A". E. Cardinalium, vol. ii. p. 34. 


functions in that town, gathering new friars about 
him and inspiring in pious women a longing after 
the religious Hfe. Dominic completed what had 
been begun, and inaugurated at Madrid a convent on : 
the model of the one at Prouille, where the cloistered 
nuns were intrusted to the keeping and guard of the 
Friars Preachers.^ 

He showed the same anxiety for them as for their 
sisters of Prouille. He himself laid down their 
rule of life with much care in a letter preserved for 
us by the Cardinal of Aragon.^ "We rejoice," he 
said to them, " and we thank God that he has seen 
fit to favour you with this holy vocation and to 
deliver you from the corruptions of this world. 
Fight the old enemy of the human race, my 
daughters, by means of fasting ; remember that only 
those are crowned who have fought. My desire 
is that in cloistered places — that is the refectory, 
the dormitory, and the oratory — silence shall be 
kept, and that in everything besides the Rule 
shall be observed. Let no one leave the con- 
vent ; let no one enter it unless it be the bishop 
and the other superiors who come to preach or 
to visit it canonically. Be not chary of vigils nor 
of the discipline ; obey the prioress ; waste no time 
in vain talking. Since we can give you no material 
aid we exempt you from the charge of receiving 
friars or other persons. . . . Our very dear brother, 
Friar Manes, who has spared no pains to bring you 
to this state of grace, will take what steps seem 

^ Echard, op. cit. vol. i. p. i8, 
2 Arch, de rordre, M.S. liv. i. 


to him necessary to ensure your holy and religious 
life. We give him authority to visit in the convent, 
and to correct where he sees fit, and even if needful 
to change the prioress, with the consent of the 
majority in the house." 

The Dominicans required a place of study in 
Spain as much as in France and Italy. For this 
reason a convent was in 1219 founded close to the 
University of Palencia. There is no formal proof 
to show that St Dominic presided at its creation, 
'but recollecting that he himself studied in the schools 
of that town, and comparing this foundation with 
those of Bologna and Paris, it is impossible not 
to recognise in it the work of the blessed saint. 
" If," remarks Father Balme, not without some 
show of reason, " Saint Dominic was not the actual 
founder of this convent, one may assume that during 
his journey in his own country some months earlier 
he had been the inspirer and adviser of the project 
at such time as the Lord should see fit to make 
its execution possible." 

On his return to Rome St Dominic continued 
to labour at the propagation of the Order in Spain. 
He was helped in the work by a celebrated teacher 
of Canon Law at the University of Bologna, the 
Catalonian Raymond of Pennaforte, who was destined 
to wear somewhat later the habit of the Preachers, 
to govern the Order as Master General, and to 
become one of its greatest saints. 

At Bologna, Raymond had been a witness of the 
marvels done by Reginald, and he, like the other 
Professors of Law, his colleagues, had felt that 


his influence and his sympathies went with the 
Dominicans. When in 1219 the bishop of Barcelona, 
Berengarius of Palou, passed through Bologna on 
his way to the Pontifical Court, Raymond spoke 
to him in praise of the new Order, and inspired him 
with the wish to establish it in his episcopal See. 
At Viterbo, Berengarius obtained from St Dominic 
a promise of some of his own friars of Bologna for 
the foundation he had in view, and taking them 
and Raymond of Pennaforte with him he installed 
them at Barcelona in 1219. One of the chief 
citizens of that town, Peter Grunio, received 
them at his own house and kept them there for 
three years, till the convent was definitely settled 
in 1222. 

While St Dominic was occupied in thus extending 
the Order in France, Italy and Spain, his attention 
was attracted to more remote and less known 
European regions. It had been always his wish 
to devote himself to the evangelisation of pagans 
and barbarous peoples, and Providence seemed now 
about to supply him with the means of devoting to 
this work a portion of the energy of his spiritual sons. 
Ivan Odrowantz, bishop of Cracow, transferred by 
the Holy See to the archbishopric of Gnesen, 
arrived at the Papal Court in the early days of 1220 
on certain business connected with his promotion. 
He was accompanied by his two nephews. Hyacinth 
and Ceslas, canons of Cracow, also by two gentle- 
men, Hermann the Teutonic, and Henry of Moravia. 
After taking leave of the Pope at Viterbo he with 
his companions went to Rome to perform his 


pilgrimage to the apostles' tomb. He then made 
the acquaintance of St Dominic and his Order 
whilst the reform amongst the Roman nuns was 
proceeding, and the convents of St Sixtus and 
Santa Sabina were being founded. 

Now Ivan Odrowantz could, better than anyone 
else, understand the usefulness of the Preachers. 
Poland, of which the Bishop of Cracow was about 
^o become Metropolitan, was already as it were 
the bulwark of Catholicism against pagans and 
schismatics. The vast plains of Russia were con- 
stantly menaced by idolatrous Turks ; and the Finns, 
still an almost barbarous people, inhabited the shores 
of the Baltic. The Teutonic knights and the Brothers 
of the Sword fought against them, but to send 
them Catholic missionaries became every day more 
necessary. Ivan had already appealed to the zeal 
of the Premonstratensian Fathers ; he had been at 
Rome a witness of the sanctity of St Dominic and his 
friends, and he was also anxious to secure the assist- 
ance of the Friars Preachers. He sought the blessed 
saint and begged him to give him some of his friars 
for Poland, his own country. But for the past two 
years the founding of one convent after another 
had come so rapidly that the great centres of the 
Order were impoverished. The religious, though 
numerous, scarce sufficed for the houses already 
established. St Dominic was obliged to confess 
this to the Polish bishop. "Nevertheless," he added, 
" if you have a few willing men agreeable to God, 
and fit to be admitted into the Order, I will receive 
them." Ivan offered him three of his own house- 


hold, Hyacinth, Ceslas and Hermann the Teuton.^l 
Dominic admitted them, gave them the habit QtL-^"^ 
the Order, and when they had been instructed in \ 
humility, charity and holy observances they were 
professed. Hyacinth and his companions left Rome 
towards the month^of April 1220, and returning to 
Poland, preached for some months in Carinthia, 
where their words stirred up fresh vocations. At li 
Friesach they founded a convent which was placed U 
under the direction of Hermann. Hyacinth passed | 
through Austria, Moravia and Silesia, and returned ' 
to Cracow at the end of 1220. 

The sermons he preached there proved so success- 
ful that very soon the canons and town magistrates 
arranged with the new bishop that the church of 
the Trinity, and money to build a large monastery 
close by, should be given to the Preachers. From 
that time the convent at Cracow became the centre 
of Dominican missions in the Slav countries. 
During the saint's lifetime Ceslas left him to 
establish a convent at Prague, and other monastic 
colonies were sent from the Trinity to Sandomir in 
Little Poland, to Plockow on the Vistula, and even 
to Denmark and Russia. '* Before his death Hyacinth 
set up the Dominican tents in Kief itself, under 
the very eyes of the Greek schismatics and amid the 
noise of the Tartar invasions." ^ 

^ Stanislaus of Cracow, a chronicler of the fourteenth century, 
from whom we borrow this account, forgets Henry of Cracow 
who, with the three others, entered the Order. Cf. on Stanislaus 
of Cracow (died in 1350), Quetif and Echard, tf/. cit. liv. i. 
p. 632. 

^ Lacordaire, op, cit. p. 197. 


At length at the second meeting of the Chapter 
General (which he held some months before his 
^death on May 30, 1221) St Dominic sent out several 
'of his friars to Hungary and Great Britain. In 
the steppes of the Danube and the Dnieper lived 

j the pagan Cumans he had longed to convert when 
he accompanied Didacus, his bishop, to Rome. At 
Bologna he discovered the very man exactly fitted by 
birth for such a work. Amongst the University 
masters was a Hungarian named Paul. His fame 
. was already well established when, touched by St 
\y Dominic's preaching, he left the world and begged 
for the Preacher's habit. He was at once sent to 
Hungary with Brother Sadoc and three other monks. 
His preaching brought forth fruit, and he was before 
long enabled to build two monasteries, one at Vesprim 
for nuns who followed the Rule of Prouille and St 
Sixtus, the other at Alba Royal for the friars. In 
a short time the number of professions had so 
increased that the convent at Alba became a 
missionary centre and played for the pagans or 
schismatics of the south-east of Europe the same 
part as Cracow for the north-east. From thence 
after the year 1222 missionaries set out to preach 

jthe gospel in Transylvania, Servia, Wallachia, and 

/even where the Tartar Cumans led a nomadic exist- 

' ence on the banks of the Dnieper. 

We have fewer details as to the establishment of 
the Order in England. At the second meeting of 
the Chapter at Bologna St Dominic decided to send 

.'twelve of his religious to Canterbury under the 
charge of Gilbert de Frassinet. The archbishop of 


that town received them kindly, and by his advice 
they established themselves at Oxford, where they 
founded the King Edward schools. Tradition has 
attempted to go further than history ; according to 
it Friar Laurence of England, one of St Dominic's 
first comrades, had in 1220 brought over to Great 
Britain several of the friars from St Jacques in 
Paris; but we know from another and a more 
certain source that Laurence spent that year in 
Rome. Another legend has it that, during his stay 
in Paris in 1219, St Dominic and the King of 
Scotland, Alexander II., met, and that the latter 
asked for some rehgious for his kingdom. Un- 
fortunately this is not mentioned by any contempor- 
ary writer, while on the other hand an ancient 
chronicle speaks only in 1230 of the establishment 
of the Order in Scotland. 

"These two missions in England and Hungary 
had," says Lacordaire, " given Dominic possession of 
Europe." He could now contemplate his work with 
satisfaction, believing it to be blessed by God. The 
birth had been a painful one, and at first it ap- 
peared likely to be a failure, but suddenly the 
Holy Preaching developed more prosperously. The 
forty religious dispersed over the world after the.>^ 
assembly of Prouille had in less than four years) 
founded more than sixty convents. St Dominic was / 
in 1217 the head of a small flock; in 1221 he became 
Master General of an Order comprising more than / 
five hundred religious and at least a hundred nuns, 
whose influence extended from the uplands of Spain 
to the Russian steppes, under the fogs of Great 


Britain and beneath the radiance of an oriental sky. 
It was truly the grain of mustard seed which had 
sprouted in the district of Toulouse and had given 
birth to a tree whose branches were already a shelter 
for the whole Catholic Church I 


ST Dominic's journeys and preaching 

CT DOxMINIC, though he made his home in Rome, 

^ did not give up his apostolic travels ; he never 

ceased preaching from town to town, and from 

hamlet to hamlet. " This ardent lover of souls had 

the salvation of others always in mind ; night and 

day, in churches, houses, by the wayside, indeed in 

every place, he eagerly spread the Word of God and 

exhorted his friars to this work, and this only." 

"He strove to speak of God to almost everyone he 

met on the highways." ^ The organisation of his/ 

Order was of such a kind as to make these journeys 

a necessity. The labours of the isolated friars had 

to be co-ordinated, new convents to be informed 

with the spirit of the earlier institutions, and the 

training of the novices carefully supervised. The 

saint, with the practical common sense which 

distinguished him, understood the duties belonging 

to his position, and to fulfil them he from the year 

1217 to the time of his death, set himself without 

the smallest hesitation, to travel over a great part of 

Western Europe. 

Though venerated by his religious, the valued 

adviser of the Pope, and esteemed and respected by 

^ Bolognese Documents. 



princes, St Dominic travelled with the utmost sim- 
plicity, never changing the modest habits he had 
learned from Didacus his bishop. *' Outside the 
towns," says Thierry of Apoldia, •' it was his custom 
to walk barefoot sometimes among stones and sharp 
pebbles, often through thorns and briars, so that 
with feet all torn and bleeding he would exclaim in 
holy joy : * This is part of our penance ! ' " Thougli 
always ready to bear a brother's burden he never 
allowed anyone else to carry his own cloak or books. 
Floods and inundations could not bar his way. He 
preferred to lodge at the convents and submitted 
himself to the Rule of the house, even when it was 
not of his own Order. If he found none, he chose 
the most modest of inns and was careful to let no 
one know his real position. One of his friars 
always accompanied him and was edified by his 
austerity and pious example. " He rejoiced in 
tribulations," says William of Montferrat, " and 
would under their influence bless God and sing the 
Ave Maris Stella or the Veni Creator.'' Another 
companion, Paul of Venice, declares that he never 
saw him ruffled by disappointment, annoyances, or 
contradiction : " he would sometimes," he adds, 
'♦ beg for alms in humility of spirit and from house 
to house like a beggar. When he was begging at 
Duliolum he was given a whole loaf, which he 
received kneeling; he fasted every day, yet was 
careful that his friars should eat well because of 
the fatigues of travel." *' He frequently passed the 
night in prayer," deposed Brother Fougerio during 
the process of canonisation, and his petitions were 


broken by sighs and groans.^ " His communion 
with God was so strong and so close," quotes 
Lacordaire from the Acts of Bologna, " that he 
scarcely raised his eyes from the ground. He never 
entered any house where hospitality was given 
him without first saying a prayer in the church, 
if there was one in the place. When the meal was 
ended he retired to a chamber where he read the 
Gospel of St Matthew or the Epistle of St Paul, 
which he always carried about with him. He would 
sit down, open his book, cross himself and then 
begin to read attentively. But presently he became 
carried away by the Divine Word. From his gestures 
it seemed as though he were speaking with someone : 
he appeared to listen, to dispute, to argue ; at times 
he smiled or wept ; he gazed straight before him, then 
lowered his eyes, muttered to himself and beat upon 
his breast. He passed incessantly from reading to 
prayer and from meditation to contemplation. From 
time to time he would press his lips lovingly to his 
book as though thanking it for his happiness, or 
bury his face in his hands or his hood and sink still 
deeper into his holy ecstasy." 

He preached to the people in most of the towns 
he passed through, in the churches, streets, or at 
the cross roads, with such pathetic eloquence as to 
draw tears from his hearers. He inspected the 
houses of his Order with a watchful eye, and had 
lengthy conversations with the priors of each one 
of them so as to ascertain the exact state of all. 

^ All these instances are borrowed from the Bolognesc Documents 
published by the BoUandists. 


He preached to his religious by his example, of the 
love and strict observance of the Rule, and ex- 
plained its meaning in friendly talk. ** On his 
arrival at a monastery," says Friar Ventura, ** he, 
unlike most men, did not retire to rest, but assemb- 
ling the religious he spoke to them of God and 
sought to encourage them." He loved voluntary 
poverty and desired that it should be loved by 
his friars, but he never neglected temporal things. 
He was interested in every material question that 
could promote the spiritual welfare of a convent 
or of the whole Order. He took advantage of his 
sojourn in any house of the Order to appease strife, 
settle difficulties, or confirm transactions and con- 
tracts that might be in negotiation with prelates, 
princes, or even with private persons. Having 
thus fulfilled his duty as a religious and as Master 
of the Order, he would retire to his cell to 
receive the discipline. " He had it administered 
with a triple iron chain," says Friar Ventura ; " I 
know this from religious from whom he asked this 

Scarcely eight months after his installation in 
Rome St Dominic felt that it was his duty to visit 
the convents he had just founded. He set off from 
St^ixtus towards the end of October 1218, to spend 
the feast of All Saints with his brothers of Bologna. 
This convent had been only in existence a few 
months, and was in need of the advice and teaching 
of the Master. During his short stay there St 
Dominic was lavish of both. He left with Friar 
Dominic of Segovia and soon reached Prouille, 


Fanjeaux, and the other places that had received the 
first fruits of his apostleship. 

The monastery of Prouille was passing through 
trials that demanded the presence of its founder. 
The prior appointed in September 1217 had just 
died, having been drov^med in the v^^aters of the Blau. 
Simon de Montfort, the devoted protector of the 
nuns, had been, some months earlier, killed before the 
walls of Toulouse, and the progress of the heretics^ 

became every day more alarming. Lastly, Alboin, 
the abbot of St Hilaire, disputed the right of the 
convent to the gift of the church of St Martin de 
Limoux which had in 1209 been bestowed on them 
by Berengarius, the archbishop of Narbonne, and 
the representatives of the sisters had been violently 
expelled from it by him. St Dominic remained 
calm ; he conferred on William Claret the dignity of 
prior, and bade him demand from the archbishop 
of Narbonne the confirmation of the gift of St 
Martin. At Prouille he decided on the creation of 
the convent of the Preachers of Lyons. In the 
early days of December 1218 he sent to that town 
two friars : Arnold of Toulouse, whose trust in God 
was as inexhaustible as his zeal ; and Romeo of 
Livia, " a religious of simple habits, humble bearing, 
gracious demeanour, of honied speech, and full of 
love to his neighbour." ^ They were kindly received 
by the Archbishop Reginald de Forez and the 
Dean of his Chapter, and they founded at Four- 
vieres one of the most important monasteries of 
the Order. 

^ Echard, vol. i. p. i6o. 


St Dominic soon afterwards set off for Spain. 
I He was once more, after an absence of nearly fifteen 
I years, to revisit his own country. In every town he 
'passed through he preached, and his word was often 
confirmed by miracles. At ^Segovia,^ where he was 
towards the Christmas of 1218, he, by his prayers, 
caused a much needed rain to descend on the thirsty 
land. On another occasion his tunic was the means 
of saving his hostess' few possessions from fire. 
" As there was no convent of the Order in the town," 
writes Gerard de Frachet, " the servant of the Lord 
had for some time lodged at the house of a poor 
woman. The saint, having one day discovered an 
extremely rough hair shirt much to his taste, at 
once cast aside the coarse tunic he had been 
temporarily using. His hostess gathered it up 
reverently, and placed it in a coffer with her most 
precious objects and kept it with as much care as 
though it had been a piece of the imperial purple. 
Now it happened one day that, when she was out, 
the fire she had forgotten to extinguish set light to 
the room, and burned all the furniture, with the ex- 
ception of the wooden coffer containing the saint's 
tunic. Not only was the coffer unburned, but it was 
not even blackened by the smoke. The woman, 
astounded on her return by the great miracle, gave 
thanks to God and then to the blessed Dominic, 
whose tunic had preserved from the flames the 
whole of her small treasures which were in the 

^ It was during this visit that he founded the convents of 
Madrid and Segovia and prepared the way for the one at 


box." Before leaving his country for ever Dominic 
visited the places where he had passed the early 
years of his life: Gumiel of Izan where he had 
been brought up by his uncle the arch-priest, and 
Osma where he had been canon, and where, accord- 
ing to a tradition, he is said to have founded a 
monastery for women. ^ 

He recrossed the Pyrenees towards the end of 
March 1219, for about the feast of Easter he was 
at Toulouse, where he once more found his faithful 
friend Bishop Foulques, one of the first patrons of his 
work. He passed some time with the monks of St 
Romanus and preached in their church. But such 
crowds of people flocked to it that it soon became 
too small to hold them, and the preaching had to 
be continued in the Cathedral of St Etienne, the 
largest building in the town. It seems probable that 
from Toulouse the saint went to pay one more visit 
to the " Elder Daughters of the Order," the Sisters 
of Prouille, for his return to the county of Toulouse 
coincides with the settlement of the matter concern- 
ing St Martin. Bernard of Rochefort, bishop of 
Carcassonne, gave judgment in the name of his 
metropolitan, the archbishop of Narbonne, and re- 
stiti£don__of. the_church of Limoux was made to the 
sisters on April 13, 1219.2 

1 In spite of the dryness of developing a subject of this kind, 
we were anxious to draw up the itinerary followed by St Dominic 
from 1 21 8 to 1 221, for no better means of giving an idea of the 
energy shown by him during the latest years of his life could be 
chosen. We have derived it especially from the documents 
published by Balrae in his Cartulaire de Saint Dominique. 

2 B:ilme, of. cit. vol. ii. p. 275. 


y^The saint was eager to visit the House of St 
Jacques in Paris. It was developing rapidly, and 
he counted on it as a means of extending the Order. 
He took with him as a travelling companion 
Bertrand of Garrigua, " his friendly rival in devotion 
and holiness," and set forth after the feast of Easter. 
" During his journeys," says ifetienne de Salagnac,^ 
" the blessed father frequently and with gladness 
visited haunts of prayer and relics of saints ; and he 
did not pass them by like a cloud without rain, but 
often, to lengthen his petitions, he added night to day. 
On the way from Toulouse to Paris he came upon a 
place of pilgrimage then universally frequented — 
Our Lady of Rocamadour — where he stopped and 
passed the night in prayer. Next day he set off 
again with his companion, reciting by the way the 
psalms and litanies. . . . Still on foot he passed 
on to Orleans accompanied by German pilgrims also 
returning from Rocamadour. "At one place," ^ 
Gerard de Frachet narrates, "these strangers 
generously invited them to partake of their pro- 
visions, and continued to do so for the next four 
days. On the way the blessed saint said to his 
companion : ' Brother Bertrand, I have it on my 
conscience that we make a temporal harvest out of 
these pilgrims without sowing in them spiritual seed. 
Let us therefore kneel down and ask God's grace to 
understand and speak their tongue, that we may 
preach to them Jesus Christ.' They immediately 

^ Balme, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 285. 

2 Gerard de Frachet, Vitce fratrwn (ed. by Cormier), p. 59, 
quoted by Father Balme and Lacordaire, 


did so, when, to the surprise of everybody, they 
began to speak German quite distinctly in such a 
fashion that during the four more days they journeyed 
together they were able to converse about the Lord 
Jesus. At_ Orleans the other pilgrims followed the/ 
direction of Chartres and left Dominic and Bertrand' 
on their way to Paris, bidding them farewell and 
desiring to be remembered in their prayers. Next 
day the blessed Father said to his companion : ' We 
are now approaching Paris; if the friars hear of 
the miracle the Lord has done they will look on us 
as saints instead of the sinners we are, and should it 
reach the ears of worldlings it will go hard with our 
humility; therefore I forbid you to speak of it to 
anyone till after my death.' Brother Bcrtrai:d 
obeyed, but after the saint's death he confided it to 
the pious friars." 

When he reached the convent of St Jacques, in 
the June of 1219, Dominic found there more than 
thirty religious gathered together under the direc- 
tion of Matthew of France and Michael de Fabra. 
He also presided at several fresh professions. He 
received William of Montferrat, whom he had 
formerly met in Rome at the house of Cardinal 
Ugolino, and who after studying at the Paris 
University had begged to be given the habit of the 
Preachers; and Henry the Teuton, driven into the 
Order by a supernatural vision, and afterwards 
destined to devote himself to the controversy against 
the Jews and to foreign missions. At St Jacques, 
as in all the other convents where he stayed, 
Dominic had conferences for the religious and the 


novices, and students were admitted to them in the 
afternoons and evenings. At one of these he 
described the entrance into the Order of their old 
/ Master the Blessed Reginald. Amongst those 
} youths v^^ho followed the course may be mentioned 
j Jordan of Saxony, Master of Arts, Bachelor of 
I Theology, and Sub-deacon, who pursued his studies 
at .the University. It was not long before he felt the 
fluence of St Dominic and placed himself under 
his spiritual direction. He wished, he says later, to 
make his confession to him, and by his advice he 
received the diaconate. The following Lent (March 
1220) he took the habit of the Friars Preachers, 
nd soon after succeeded the blessed saint as 
aster General. 

It was during St Dominic's stay in Paris, and no 
doubt by his orders, that the monks of St Jacques 
set forth to found fresh convents at Limoges, 
Rheims, Metz, Poitiers and Orleans. Peter Sella 
received from him formal directions to continue 
the propaganda of the Order at Limoges : " He 
urges his ignorance, his scanty supply of books, pos- 
sessing only a copy of the * Homilies of St Gregory.' 
' Go, my son, go with all confidence,' replies the 
Master, * twice a day you will be present with me in 
my prayers. Do not falter, you will gain many souls 
to the Lord and produce much fruit." Two years 
before at Prouille the saint had, with ' the same 
confidence, proceeded to disperse his religious. 
i After a sojourn of several weeks in Paris, he took 
.tor travelling companions William of Montferrat 
/and the lay brother Friar John, and set out again 


for Italy. To follow with exactness the itinerary of 
those who travel on foot is not easy. According to 
some traditions they seem to have stopped at 
Chatillon-sur-Seine and at Avignon, thus skirting 
the valleys of the Seine, Saone, and the Rhine, 
reaching the Po valley by way of Mont Genevre. 
An account by Gerard de Frachet mentions on the 
contrary the crossing of the Lombardy Alps, pre- 
supposing a journey through Geneva, past the abbey 
of San Moritz, the Simplon and the valley of the 
Ticino. Local traditions speak of the foundation 
by the saint on this journey of many Piedmont and 
Lombardy convents, in particular those of Asti and 
Bergamos. What is certain is the fact of his having 
passed several days at Milan, where he once more 
accepted the hospitality of the canons of San 
Nazario. He took advantage, as his habit was, of 
this short visit to preach, and he gained for his 
Order three jurisconsults of reputation, Amizo di 
Solero, Guido di Sexto, and Roger di Merato. 
^rom Milan St Dominic went to Bologna, where 
he arrived in July 1219,^ eight months after leaving 
i^for France and Spain. He remained there long 
enough to train the religious he destined for new 
houses, and after having dispersed them over 
Lombardy, Milan, Bergamo, Asti, Verona, Florence 
and Placenza he went to Viterbo to the Pontifical 
Court. After a short stay in Florence, where he 

-^ This absolutely certain fact proves the falseness of the tradi- 
tion reported by Wadding {Annales Fratriiiii fninoru?nan, 1219), 
according to which St Dominic is said to have once more met 
St Francis at the Franciscan Chapter of Nattes held at Portiun- 
cula near Assisi during the feast of Pentecost, 1219. 


visited the new convent (and where sev.eral fresh 
professions were made) he reached the PapaT Court 
in the month of November 1219. Honorius III. 
showed him his usual kindness, and on November 
15 gave him fresh Bulls for the extension of 
the Order in Spain, settling the dispute which had 
arisen in Paris between the Chapter of Notre- Dame 
and the convent of St Jacques to the advantage 
of the Friars Preachers (1st to 11th December 
1219), confirming them in the possession of the 
church of St Sixtus in Rome (December 17), and 
addressing warmly complimentary letters to all 
those who had in Bologna, Paris, or in Spain, as- 
sisted the Dominican foundations (February, March 
1200). From Viterbo St Dominic went to Rome 
towards the Christmas of 1219, to prepare for the 
transference of the religious to Santa Sabina ; at the 
beginning of May 1220 he returned to Viterbo, where 
the Pope gave him letters of recommendation to the 
archbishop of Tarragona, and about May 12 he 
set out for Bologna, where he was to preside at 
a meeting of the General Chapter convoked for 
the feast of Pentecost. 

This important assembly detained the saint in 
the town during the end of May and the first days 
of June, and left him more than ever possessed by 
the preaching fever. Lombardy now offered him 
7 as vast a field of action as Languedoc had iu-lhe 
past. Passing through it on his return to France, 
tiie spread of heresy and the progress of religious 
indifference alarmed him. The wealth of its towns, 
by developing the taste for luxury, was an encourage- 


ment to vice. By way of Venice and the other 
Adriatic ports it was open not only to merchandise 
but to the heterodox doctrines of the East. In fact, 
for several centuries the great northern cities of Italy 
had been showing their distrust of papal authority, 
either when the archbishops of Milan had risen against 
the much needed reforms of Gregory VII., or when 
from Brescia there arose angry protests from Arnold 
against the temporal power of the popes and bishops. 
The heresy of the Patarins and Catharists had de- 
veloped in these large centres. Thence the Perfect 
and the Faidis of the county of Toulouse derived] 
their ideas. The registers of the Inquisition of 
Toulouse mention continuous relations between the 
Manicheans in France and those in Lombardy. 

After having employed ten years of his youth in 
fighting the Albigenses, St Dominic was anxious 

"rn~devote his middle age to preaching the truth to 
the Lombard heretics, especially after the Chapter 

General had convinced him that his Order was 
definitely established and organised. He must 
have confided these projects to the Pope before 
his departure for Bologna, for on May 12, 1220, 
Honorius III. wrote a letter on this subject, most 
certainly inspired by St Dominic. He ordered 
several religious from the abbeys or priories of 
San Vittorio, Sillia, Mansu, Floria, Vallombrosa and 
Aquila, to give themselves up to preaching in the 
different Italian provinces under the direction of the 
Master General of the Friars Preachers.^ " Since 
he believes," he wrote to them, " that you will 
^ Balme op. cit. v. iii. 


obtain good fruit by employing to your neighbours' 
profit the gift of preaching bestowed on you by 
Providence, we command and order you to go with 
this same Dominic and proclaim the Word of God to 
whom he may think fit, to the end that by the light 
of the truth preached by you to them, the lost may 
again find the right way. . . . We give you to the 
said friar that you may, in the habit proper to your 
Order, be his fellow-workers in the ministry of the 
Divine Word." 

Honorius III. wished to create in Italy, under St 
Dominic's direction, an important mission similar 
to the one organised by the Cistercian abbots in 
Languedoc in 1204. Unfortunately, the scheme 
remained a mere project. The Master General of 
the Order of Friars Preachers at least tried to put 
it into execution with no other aid than that of 
his friars. After the meeting of the Chapter at 
Bologna he set out for Lombardy, taking with him 
a number of his religious, and devoted the energies 
of his last years to the evangelisation of that 
part of the country. We find him at Milan on 
June 11, the feast of St Barnabas, detained by an 
attack of fever. He had hardly recovered when he 
successively passed through the countries of Parma 
and Modena, where he received into the Order 
Albert Boschetti ; Mantua, Verona and Padua, where 
he gave the habit to John of Vicenza ; and Cremona, 
where he met his friend and rival in sanctity, St 

At his convent in Bologna he spent the feast of 
the Assumption and made it an opportunity for 


giving his religious a fresh lesson on the spirit of 
poverty. During his absence Brother Raoul, the 
procurator, had enlarged the cells, for he found them 
— not without reason — inconvenient and inadequate, 
and had raised them by a cubit. When on his 
return St Dominic saw the changes that had taken 
place he was scandalised, severely reprimanded 
the procurator and the other monks, and, weeping, 
said to them : " Alas ! are you in such haste to give 
up poverty, and to rear magnificent palaces 1 " By 
his order the work was stopped and remained un- 
finished till his death. 1 

Towards the end of August he again began to 
preach in Romagna and in Lombardy, visiting in 
turn Forli, Faenza, Brescia and Bergamos and 
again staying in Florence, w^here his sermons in the 
church of San Gallo produced much fruit. We 
have few authentic details about these missions. 
The confessor of St Catherine of Siena, Raymond 
of Capua, wrote at the end of the fourteenth century, 
that more than a hundred thousand heretics were 
converted by the teaching and the miracles of the 
saint, and that this was proved in the process of 
canonisation. This testimony of a later age is the 
only one that tells of such wonderful results. 

From Florence Dominic returned to Rome. 
He arrived there at the beginning of December 
1220 and remained till the end of 1221. As his 
habit w^as, he made use of the papal favour for 
the further consolidation of the Order of Friars 
Preachers by obtaining fresh privileges and secur- 
^ Aas of Bologna. 


ing the permanence of the Roman convents. Three 
consecutive bulls dated January 18, February 4, 
and March 29 again commended the Dominicans 
to the Prelates of the Universal Church. The last 
deserves special mention, because it proves the grow- 
ing favour in which the people held the Preachers. 
The Pope was obliged to denounce persons who, 
to gain the confidence of the faithful, pretended 
to belong to the Order ; " because vice at times 
wears the cloak of virtue, and the angel of darkness 
may assume the appearance of an angel of light, 
we warn and command you by these presents, that 
if unknown persons, falsely calling themselves Friars 
Preachers, under pretext of announcing the Word 
of God, attempt to collect money to the dishonour 
and prejudice of the true apostles of poverty, you 
may take care to have such persons arrested and 
severely punished as impostors." ^ 

At Rome St Dominic met the friend of his youth, 
Foulques, bishop of Toulouse. " How delightful must 
have been the communion of these two men ! " says 
Lacordaire, writing on the subject. " The holy 
hopes they had together entertained God had 
crowned with unheard of success ; they had seen 
the office of Preacher exalted in the Church by 
an Order of religious already dispersed from one 
end of Europe to another, they who had so often 
talked of the necessity for re-establishing the 
apostolate I The part they had played in this 
great work did not tempt them to pride, but their 
joy in the Church's glory was in proportion to their 
* Cartulaire de Saint Dofniiii</ue, vol. iii. 


sympathy in her trials." ^ They made use of this 
chance meeting for the amicable settlement of 
their dispute about tithes. St Dominic gave up 
what Foulques had already given him, and in 
exchange Foulques surrendered to the Order the 
church of Notre Dame de Fanjeaux, which was 
afterwards assigned to the monastery of Prouille 
(April 17, 1221). 

The blessed Dominic at the same time watched 
over the interests of his beloved Roman nuns. At 
his request Honorius III., in a bull of April 25, 
1221, united to the monastery of St Sixtus the 
property of Santa Maria beyond the Tiber, of Santa 
Bibiana, and of all the convents whose sisters had 
been transferred to St Sixtus. Besides this, St 
Dominic also collected for them important dona- 
tions; a rich Roman, Master Cencius Rampazoli, 
giving up to them through his influence the sum 
of £1090.2 

Meanwhile the second general meeting of the 
Chapter was, as in the preceding year, to take place 
at Bologna during the feast of Pentecost (May 30, 
1221), and St Dominic went to preside at the business 
of the assembly. In June 1221 he took another 
journey to see Cardinal Ugolino in Venice. On his 
return to Bologna he was attacked by the disease 
destined to put an end to his energy and his life. 

^ Vie de Saint Dominiqiiey p. 287. 
* BoUandists, Acta SS.^ 4th August. 




A BUSIER time than the four last years of the 
life of St Dominic, from 1218-1221, cannot be 
easily imagined. Journeys, foundations, visits to 
monasteries, preaching, negotiations with the Pope, 
with prelates and princes, and sending out mission- 
aries to distant places occupied by turns, and some- 
times at once, his untiring energy. How, one is 
tempted to ask, could a single person make head 
against so many and such varied responsibilities ? 
And yet to these numerous duties others must be 
added. The chief event of the last two years was 
the holding of the general Chapters of 1220 iand 

When they separated after the assembly of 
Prouille the friars had no rule but that of St 
Augustine, to which were added some particular 
laws framed by St Dominic according to circum- 
stances. But as the Order grew it was deemed 
necessary to give it a general constitution by co- 
ordinating the separate rules. Serious differences 
of opinion on various points had arisen between 
the friars; to avoid disputes and settle difficulties 
by a general assembly seemed urgent. In spite 
of the full powers he had received from the Holy 


See, the blessed saint refused to make laws with- 
out consulting his friars ; and it was to take counsel 
with them that, on the Feast of Pentecost 1220, he 
convoked a general assembly at Bologna. There 
is no document to show which Fathers took part 
in this first great meeting of the Order, but it is 
probable that each convent sent its Prior, assisted 
by one of his religious. Jordan of Saxony, who had 
only recently taken the Dominican habit, and with 
him Matthew of France, no doubt represented the 
Paris house. 

The first sitting was marked by a moving scene. 
" The friars," says Thierry of Apoldia,^ " were only 
just assembled when Dominic, that servant of Christ, 
said to them : * I am an unworthy and useless friar, 
I deserve to be deposed.' And thus he, who surpassed 
them all in holiness and influence, humbled himself 
before them all." As they refused to accept his 
abdication he, with their consent, decided that 
henceforth definitors should be chosen who should 
have full authority over the Order during the 
Chapter. As soon as they were appointed the 
Master General completely effaced himself. " As 
long as the meeting lasted he was merely one of 
the friars. If he took the first place it was only in 
abstinence, vigils, fasting and maceration, setting 
himself above none, except in holiness and humility." 

Little is known as to the deliberations of this 

Chapter. We do not even possess the constitutions 

which were agreed on. The oldest we have are those 

promulgated in 1228 by Jordan of Saxony and revised 

^ Bollandists, Acta SS. , 4th August, 


later by St Raymond of Pennaforte. If we may, 
however, believe the Dominican historian Bernard 
Guidonis, most of the rules of the Order were laid 
down in 1220. i 

They were not entirely new. Besides being 
suggested by the Rule of St Augustine, they also 
recalled those of many other great religious Orders 
with which circumstances had made St Dominic 
acquainted. Humbert de Romanis had about 1240 
already pointed out where the Friars Preachers had 
borrowed from the constitutions of the Premonstra- 
tensian Fathers: "Nothing could be sounder or more 
bpportune than such a preference," he adds, "for the 
[Premonstratensians reformed and perfected the Rule 
— jofSt Augustine as the Cistercians did the rule of St 
/Benedict. The austerity of their life, the beauty of 
/their Rule and observances, and the government of a 
multitude of friars by means of general Chapters 
and canonical visitations set them in the first rank 
of this Order. For this reason the blessed Father 
Dominic and his friars, not having been able to 
obtain from the Sovereign Pontiff the full rigour 
of the new Rule which they had in their ardour 
desired, decided to borrow from St Norbert every- 
thing they could find that was austere, beautiful and 
prudent, everything which they in fact believed to 
be suitable to the end in view." ^ Les Us et Cou- 

1 '* Multa etiam fuerunt statuta ibidem, quae usque hodie in 
Ordine observantur." (Martene, Amplissinm collection vol. vi. 
p. 403.) 

'^ Cf. In the Cartulaire de Saint Dominique^ vol. ii. p. 23, the 
interesting comparison given by Balme between the constitutions 
of the Premonstratensians and of the Dominicans. 


tumes de Cluny and the Cistercian institutes also 
supplied some features of the Dominican Rule. 

Before proceeding to draw up his Rule St Dominic 
wished to preserve his religious from a too judaic 
interpretation of his directions, thus proving his 
large-mindedness. " The Blessed St Dominic in the 
chapter-house of Bologna declared for the comfort 
of the weaker brethren that even the rules do not 
always bind under pain of sin, and that if he could 
think otherwise he would go to every cloister and 
hack them to pieces with his knife ; and Master 
Humbert added: "The friar who heard this from 
the saint's own lips repeated it to me." ^ And yet 
we know how well St Dominic loved regularity and 
how scrupulously he himself observed the constitu- 
tions of his Order ! 

A liturgical text of the office of St Dominic well 
resumes the spirit of his Rule. *• Virum canouicuni 
auget in apostoliim : he has raised the canon to the 
dignity and functions of an apostle. Etienne de 
Salagnac wishing to describe his Order arrives at 
the conclusion that the true Dominican is * a canon 
by profession, a monk in the austerity of his life, and 
an apostle by his office of preacher." 

The Friars Preachers were canons regular in 
their religious observances. St Dominic insisted on 
their presence in the choir; Stephen of Spain in 
his deposition shows him "attending Divine office 
with them, passing from one side of the choir to 
the other, exhorting them to sing with energy and 
devotion." " As soon as they wake and rise the 
^ Ibidem, vol. ii. p. 20. 


friars shall together recite the matins of the 
Blessed Virgin according to the season, and then 
repair to the choir." In the choir, too, the 
different canonical hours had to be repeated, from 
matins, which were sung in the night, to com- 
pline, which was immediately followed by the bed 
hour; in the choir, too, the conventual mass was 
to be celebrated as distinguished from the private 
masses said by each priest religious. The prayers 
said in common did not, however, dispense them from 
/" holy meditation and private prayer, which are to be 
encouraged and never to be omitted, for such de- 
votions are a sure proof of holiness." " To further 
encourage them," says Galvano Fiamma,^ " there was 
m each cell an image of the Blessed Virgin and a 
crucifix, so that at prayer, at study, or at rest, the 
religious might contemplate them and be in turn 
contemplated by the All-Merciful Eye : for the image 
of the Crucified One is the book of life opened, to 
which we must often raise our eyes and from whence 
comes succour from on high." 

. The Friars Preachers were monks by reason of 
their three vows, of chastity, obedience, and poverty. 
St Dominic attached great importance to the first. 
He was severe with the religious whose purity could 
be assailed by the shadow of a temptation. With 
strong discipline he triumphantly drove forth from 
them the demon of impurity. With the same zeal 
he strove to maintain the habit of obedience in the 
Order, and he easily succeeded, thanks to the irre- 
sistible influence of his disposition and his holiness 
* Balme, op. cit, vol. ii. p. 23 and following. 


But he above all things upheld the spirit of poverty, 
thus resembling the great founders of Orders who 
had proceeded him. To St Benedict the unpardon- 
able sin in a monk was the crime of property, and his 
disciple, St Gregory the Great, shows in his Dia-iy 
logues by terrible examples how the violation of th^ 
rule of monastic poverty is detested by God. St 
Dominic also attacked " the vice of property " with 
peculiar hatred. The friars who accepted a personal 
gift, however small, were subject to the severest 
penalties. "A friar of Bologna," writes Gerard 
de Frachet,! " had without leave accepted a piece 
of stuff of no value. Reginald as soon as he heard of 
it ordered him the discipline in Chapter and directed 
that the stuff should be burned in the cloister in the 
presence of the whole community. As the culprit, 
far from acknowledging his sin and humbling himself, 
rebelled, the man of God ordered the religious to 
prepare him forcibly for the discipline. Then 
raising his tearful eyes to heaven he said : ' Lord 
Jesus, Who gavest Thy servant Benedict power to 
cast out by discipline the devil from the heart of one 
of his monks, grant by the virtue of this discipline 
that the soul of this brother may be delivered from 
a devilish temptation.' He then administered so 
tremendous a discipline that the other religious 
could not restrain their tears. But the monk, 
himself weeping, answered, ' Thanks, Father, for thou 
hast in truth cast the devil out of my body ! ' After 
this he became an excellent and humble friar." 
St Dominic did not seek to impose the vow of 
1 ViUe Fratrmn {ed, cii.), p. 152. 


poverty on individuals only, but on the convents also. 
Whatever may have been said on this subject, the 
founder of the Order of Friars Preachers shared 
the views of St Francis. Like him, he wished to 
found a Begging Order which should, at the most, 
possess humble shelters for its religious, obliging 
them to throw themselves for everything else on 
Providence and the charity of man. 

But of all the monastic vows the one hardest to 
keep is the vow of poverty. Rare indeed are the 
Orders who have throughout their history preserved 
their original poverty and who practise it individu- 
ally and collectively. Many are those for whom 
on the contrary riches have proved an irremediable 
cause of decay and death. Even the Franciscans 
themselves have not entirely escaped the contagion 
of gold, in spite of the mystical marriage of their 
father with Poverty. Therefore, it is not surpris- 
ing that St Dominic should have, even in the bosom 
of his Order, met with keen opposition. According 
to a Bolognese chronicler of the fifteenth century, 
the Dominican Borselli,^ it was precisely to over- 
come these objections that he convoked the Chapter 

^ It may be objected that the testimony of Borselli is more than 
two hundred years later than the incidents it relates. It is valuable, 
however, because it agrees while giving more details, with certain 
older testimony such as that of Gerard de Frachet, Bernard 
Guidonis, the Ac^s of Bologna^ which all mention the peculiar 
love of poverty which distinguished St Dominic, and make it 
easy to guess at the opposition he must have met with in his own 
household against the realisation of Ihis ideal. Besides, it must 
not be forgotten that Borselli was a religious at the convent of 
Bologna and that he carefully informs the reader that he quotes 
from ancient documents taken from the archives of the monastery. 



General of 1220. "At this time the friars who 
were in the districts of Toulouse and Albi, despising 
the habit revealed by the Blessed Virgin, adopted 
the use of the surplice ; they spent money freely, 
travelled on horseback, paying small heed to the 
rules and utterances of the blessed Dominic. When 
Honorius III. heard of it he gave the saint full 
authority over the whole Order. St Dominic then 
paid still more particular attention to the practice 
of poverty, and to spread it he convoked a Chapter 
General of all his friars at Bologna." 

He had at the same time formally forbidden them 
to accept landed property, making it a duty to 
alienate what they already possessed, or that it 
should be given to the women's monasteries. Many 
religious from the south of France went to Bologna, 
if we may believe Borselli, prepared to protest 
against the Draconian rules of their master, and 
even, if need were, to appeal against them to 
the Roman Curia. They arrived with well filled 
purses, on splendid horses, which they took care to 
secrete in the hostelries of the town before they 
sought St Dominic. But as soon as he heard of it 
he took away all the money they had brought, and 
instituted a careful search in every inn in Bologna 
to recover and confiscate the horses. He then had 
them sold to the highest bidder in the public square, 
and the price they fetched went to the keeping up 
of the Chapter General. 

At the first sessions St Dominic obliged the 
assembly to renew the law against landed property : 
"The friars decided to have no immovable posses- 


sions, and lest the office of preaching should be 
impeded by the care of earthly goods they were 
in the future to have only income." Their con- 
ventual houses and their churches were all they 
kept. A citizen of Bologna, Oderic GalHtiani, had 
presented the convent of the town with an estate : 
it was returned to him and the deed of donation 
was torn up by the Master in the sight of the 

St Dominic, according to Borselli, wished to do 
even more. When he found it impossible to in- 
duce the religious to live, not on fixed revenues, 
but merely on alms collected day by day, he wanted 
at least to forbid the priests to take part in the tem- 
poral administration of the monasteries, that they 
might be entirely devoted to study, meditation and 
preaching. He made a formal proposal to give up 
to lay brothers the charge of the money belonging 
to the convents. The rest of the friars opposed this; 
alleging, not without reason, that after having so 
acted the professed members of the Order of Gram- 
mont had been oppressed by the lay brothers, who 
would give no statement of their receipts or ex- 
penses, would bear no reprimands, and even took 
upon themselves to teach and reprove them. It was 
decided that the friars should have authority even 
on temporal questions, and that if they intrusted the 
administration to lay brothers, the latter should 
be forced to produce accounts.^ Again on this 
point St Dominic was obliged to make concessions 

^ " Ordinatum est ut conversi singulis suis majoribus rationem 
recklant et a^^autnr potiiis qiiam agant." 


to the Chapter and to sacrifice a part of his ideal 
of absolute poverty. 

All that he could obtain was that rules for a frugal' / 
and modest conventual life should be made. *' It> 
was decided," says Borselli, "that the friars were' 
to ji aye houses of a poor appearance, common 
clothing, and narrow cells without wooden doors." — 
" Our brothers," say the original Constitutions, " shall 
have humble and modest dwellings, their walls not 
to exceed twelve feet in height or twenty, including 
the upper floor." ^ 

The chapel was also to have the same aspect of 
poverty, and in this matter St Dominic revived for 
his Order the austere Rule St Bernard had laid on 
the Cistercians. The church was to be of moderate 
height, never exceeding thirty feet, the roof not to 
be supported by stone vaulting but by plain rafters, 
and marbles and mosaics were to be severely ex- ^ 
eluded. " He was most careful," declares Friar 
Amizo, that no purple or silken stuffs should be 
placed there, not even on the altar ; nor, excepting 
the chalices, gold or silver vessels." 

Outside the convent the poverty of the friars was 
to be even more rigorous. They were forbidden to -^ 
ride, they were to set off without money, and to live ^ 
on alms. When the prior received a novice he was 
to give him special instructions in this austere 
custom. " St Dominic never failed to remind his 

1 We borrow these quotations from the chronicle of Borselli, the 
greater part of it unpul)lished, preserved in the University library 
at Bologna ; and the A?ialecta Ordinis Prczdicaiortitn, published by 
the Rev. Father Monthon, vol. iii. p. 608. 


friars that they belonged to a begging order, that 
public charity should supply not their general 
resources only, but their daily bread." 

The rule of silence is essentially monastic. To 
,the nuns at Madrid 8t Dominic had specially re- 
commended it. He impressed it on all the convents 
of the Order ; except during certain fixed hours the 
friars were to preserve it unbroken. 

Abstinence and fasting united to prayer and 
silence had been from the time of Pope Pelagius 
the essence of the monastic life. St Dominic 
obliged the Chapter General of Bologna to make 
severe rules on the subject. Fasting was ordered 
from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross 
(September 14) till Easter, and on every Friday.^ 
The vow of abstinence was perpetual. " Never," 
says Friar Ventura, " did the saint, even on his 
journeys, eat meat nor any dish containing animal 
substance, and he made his friars do likewise. The 
only exception was in favour of the sick and aged, 
who might in the infirmary eat meat, or break their 
fast." The friars who waited on them were to be exact 
in this rule, as the following story told by Gerard de 
Frachet proves. " There was at Bologna," he says, 
*' an infirmary brother, who without leave sometimes 
ate what remained of the invalids' meat. Now one 
day the Devil got hold of him and he began to 
shriek fearfully. The blessed father hastened to 
him and ' filled with compassion for one so afflicted' 
took the Devil to task for having entered the body 

^ Borselli : " Item jejunium a festo S. Crucis usque ad Pascham 
et jejunium feria sexta tenendum statuerunt." 


of one of his sons. The Devil excused himself 
in these words : ' He deserves it, for he has been 
secretly eating meat intended for the sick, contrary 
to the rules laid down in thy Constitution.' " ^ To 
take anything, even a glass of water, without per- 
mission, was absolutely forbidden.^ 

Every infringement of the Rule had to be confessed 
by the culprit before all the brothers assembled 
in Chapter ; it was then punished by the prior. 
A story that reads like an apologue shows how 
much importance St Dominic attached to this 
practice, imitated from other and earlier monastic 
Orders. " One day," says Thierry d'Apoldia, " the 
saint was making the round of the city of God like a 
careful sentinel, when he met the Devil prowling 
about the convent like a beast of prey. He stopped 
him and said, ' Why dost thou prowl about in this 
manner ? ' * Because of the advantage I gain by 
it,' replied the Devil. The saint asked him what he 
got from the dormitory. ♦ I drive away sleep from 
the brothers,' answered the Devil. ' I persuade them 
not to rise for Divine Office, and, when I can, I 
send them dreadful dreams and hallucinations.' 
The saint led him to the choir and asked, * What 
profit gainest thou in this holy place ? ' He 
answered, ' I oblige them to come late, leave early, 
and to forget themselves.' When questioned about 

^ We purposely give many of these stories of diabolical pos- 
session, which are found in great numbers in the history of the 
Religious Orders ; they frequently serve to give an exact notion of 
the monastic ideal by pointing out how the rule was at time.' 

^ Borselli : " Interdixerunt omnem potum extra prandium." 


the refectory he himself demanded, * Who does not 
eat more or less than he ought ? ' When they 
reached the parlour, he said laughing : ♦ This is my 
domain ; this is the place of laughter, of empty 
noise, of vain words.' But when they reached the 
chapter-house he ran away saying, ' This is for me 
an accursed spot : here I lose all I gain elsewhere ; 
here the friars are warned of their sins ; here they 
confess, do penance, and receive absolution.' " 

The Dominicans were canons regular and begging 
friars, but above all things preachers, and, by their 
preaching, apostles. " Our Order has been specially 
founded for preaching and for the salvation of our 
neighbours," says Humbert de Romanis in his com- 
mentary on the Rule. "Our studies should tend 
principally, ardently, and above everything to make 
us useful to souls." This is why dispensations are 
permitted to modify canonical or monastic prohibi- 
tions where they might hinder the supreme end the 
Order should pursue. " In his convent," say the 
Constitutions, "the superior shall have power to 
give his friars dispensations when he thinks it 
expedient, especially where too great stringency 
might prevent study, preaching, or the good of souls, 
for," adds Humbert, "of all the works accomplished 
in the Order the best and most fruitful is the 
work of preaching. If some are saved by prayer 
and the other practices of the Order, how many 
are they compared to those who owe their salvation 
to preaching ? It is in fact through preaching that 
the whole universe is brought under the yoke of 


Study is indispensable to the preacher : " Of 
course," says Humbert, "it is not the chief end of 
the Order, but it is eminently necessary for preach- 
ing and redeeming souls; without it, we could do 
neither the one nor the other." The Constitutions 
of the Order foresaw cases where to forward the 
end in view, canonical and monastic observances 
must be mitigated : " The hours are to be recited 
briefly and fluently that they may not curtail the 
friars' hours of study. . . . Those suited to the office 
of preaching (the most important in the Order or 
rather in the Church of God) shall be employed in 
no other work. They are to be devoted to reading 
and study rather than to the singing of responses 
and anthems." ^ 

St Dominic recommended the study of the sciences 1 
and letters, and especially of theology and the Holy v 
Scriptures: "I can affirm it," declares John of""^ 
Navarre in the process of canonisation, " for I have 
often heard him say so." ^ He himself gave the 
example : he constantly took with him the Gospel of 
St Matthew and the Epistles of St Paul, and they 
were so much his own that he knew them by 
heart.^ Early traditions indeed attribute to him 
more than one treatise on the Scriptures. Be- 
sides his commentary on the Epistles of St Paul, 
on which he lectured at Rome in the apostolic 
palace, he would seem to have conducted confer- 
ences on the psalms and canonical epistles for the 
Friars of Bologna, and even to have written a com- 

^ Borselli, Analecta 0, P. vol. iii. p. 609. 

2 Acts of Bologna, ^ Ibidem. 



mentary on certain passages of the Gospel of St 

The convents were themselves real houses of 
study. The most important were established in the 
great University centres of the period, at Paris, 
Bologna, Palencia and Oxford, and the religious 
belonging to them soon mixed with the youth of the 
schools. Even within the monasteries themselves, 
regular morning courses of theology or Holy Scrip- 
ture were instituted, which the whole household, even 
to the prior, were obliged to attend. The patron 
of the convent of St Jacques, Jean de Barastre, dean 
of St Quentin, not content with providing a house 
for the friars, gave lectures to them at their own 
convent. In 1220 Roland of Cremona taught there. 
The Chapter of Bologna released him from his duties 
and replaced him by Jordan of Saxony, "who 
explained the Gospel with great charm of manner," ^ 
and from that time the Chapters General and 
Provincials adopted the custom of choosing the 
lecturers who were to direct the studies in each 

I It was because, in their idea, the Dominicans 
should be above all things a learned Order, that St 
J Dominic and his first companions sought recruits 
' in the professorial and scholastic world. We have 
already seen how Matthew of France, in Paris, and 
Reginald, at Bologna, cast their nets into University 

^ Echard, op, cit. i. p. 88. 

'^ Borselli : " In isto capitulo, absolutus fuit a lectura Parisiis 
frater Rolandus Crenionensis et substitutus est ei frater Jordanis 
Theutonicus, qui legit Evangelium giatiose. {Analecta 0. P. vol. 
iii. p. 609.^ 


society. St Dominic did as much in Padua. 
" Attracted by the University which had been 
developed in that town," ^ he went thither in 1220 
and gained important recruits amongst the masters 
of the law schools. ^- 

Thanks to his labours he imprinted on his Orde^^ 
a scientific impulse which was preserved in the 
following centuries. From its bosom sprang, in the 
middle ages, the most illustrious doctors of the 
Church, and the most celebrated professors of the 
schools of theology and of law. It is enough to 
recall from the thirteenth century onwards, the 
great names of St Raymond of Pennaforte, Humbert 
de Romans, Albert the Great, Cardinal Hugh de 
St Cher, Pierre de Tarentaise, and especially the 
angel of the schools, St Thomas Aquina^^. 

When the religious were sufBciently preparea 
they were sent out to preach. Following the 
apostolic example they went two by two, "taking 
only the necessary food, clothing and books." ^ St 
Dominic had not forgotten the prejudices that, at 
the Lateran Council, many of the bishops had dis- 
played against the projected Order. He therefore 
commanded his friars to show the utmost respect and 
obedience to the ordinaries of the places they came 
to evangelise. " When our friars enter a diocese to 

^ Borselli : *' Anno usodem, B. Dominicus de Bononia ivit 
Paduam /r^/(?;- shidium quod ibi erat." {Analeda 0. P. vol. 
iii. 6ii.) 

^ " Euntes ad prcedicationes officium exercendum vel alias 
itineiantes aurum et argentum, pecuniam aut munera, exceptis 
victu et necessariis indumentis et libris, nee accipient nee, porta- 
bunt." Analeda O.P. vol. iii. p. 6io. 


preach they shall, if possible, begin by visiting the 
bishop, they shall follow his advice in their minis- 
trations amongst his people, and so long as they 
are on his territory shall piously obey him in 
all things not contrary to the rules of the 
Order." 1 

Though there is no documentary evidence to prove 
it, it seems probable that the Chapter General of 
1220 also busied itself about the women's convents. 
It has been seen that many of these were successively 
established at Prouille, Rome, Madrid and Bologna, 
and that St Dominic had, some months earlier, 
already felt it necessary to draw up definite rules for 
them. These were certainly meant for the Sisters 
of St Sixtus, but were to be adopted by the 
Dominican nuns of other monasteries. If we may 
believe the testimony of St Antonius of Florence, 
" after having devoted the day to winning souls to 
God, by preaching, the office of confession, or 
works of mercy, St Dominic went to St Sixtus 
every evening, and there, in the presence of the 
friars, held a conference, or preached a sermon 
to instruct the sisters in the practices of the Order, 
for they had no other master to help them but 

The Constitutions for the nuns were almost the 
same as for the friars, for St Dominic's idea was 
that the men's and women's convents should form 
a single Order. The rule of St Augustine, the vows 
of obedience, poverty and chastity, fasting and 
abstinence, the choir offices, the spiritual exercises, 
* Balme, op. cit, vol. iii. 


the rule of silence, the chapters of the Coulpe were 
imposed on all. But since, in the case of the 
women, the end aimed at differed greatly from that 
assigned by the saint to his preachers, their Con- 
stitutions naturally underwent, on more than one 
point, important modifications. The friars com- 
bined the contemplative with the active life, giving 
more importance to the latter ; the sisters, on the^ . 
contrary, gave themselves up to contemplation alone.' 
While the friars were to go into the highways and 
byways carrying the Word of God, the sisters were 
to remain perpetually cloistered. An act of 1425, 
preserved in the archives of Aude in the department 
of Prouille, calls them recluse and as though im- 
prisoned {nmratce, incoercerata) in their convents; 
they never pass beyond the cloister, the refectoiy, 
the dormitory, the church and their convent walls, 
nor will they ever, till on the day of judgment the 
divine command shall be heard, " Come, ye blessed 
of my Father and receive the crown prepared for 
you from the foundation of the world I " " No 
sister," say the Constitutions, " shall leave the 
house where she has made her profession, unless 
she is for some necessary purpose transferred from 
it to another convent of the same Order." The 
cloister was inviolable, and could only be broken in 
the case of cardinals, papal legates, or the digni- 
taries of the Order when proceeding to the canonical 
visitations of the monastery. The sisters were not 
to hold communication with strangers, even their 
confessors, except behind the grating. Behind these 
bars they listened to the sermons addressed to them. 



The Carmelite is the only other rule that gives any 
idea of so severe a seclusion. ^ 

The sisters, as perpetual recluses, might not beg 
i as the friars did ; they could only receive what 
alms came to them, and as this resource was un- 
'<:ertain their convents necessarily acquired landed 
property. But St Dominic, though he allowed the 
sisters to possess property, did not permit them to 
administer it lest by temporal cares they might be 
drawn from the contemplation of divine things. 
This responsibility was intrusted to friars. Near 
every convent of nuns he established a men's 
monastery. They were intrusted with the spiritual 
and temporal care of the Sisters: some were to 
say mass, to receive confessions, and give pious 
exhortations; others — and they were generally lay 
brothers — had charge of the property and managed 
the material side of life. 

The sisters being vowed to the contemplative life, 
could not hope to lead the same active existence as 
the friars. St Dominic was, however, anxious to 
preserve them from idleness, " because it is," said 
he, " the mortal enemy of the soul, and the mother 
and nurse of every vice." — "No sister shall re- 
main idle in the cloister; she must if possible be 
always at work, for temptation does not easily 
master those usefully occupied. The Lord decreed 
that in the sweat of his brow should man eat 

1 At Rome, the religious of the S.S. Dominic and Sixtus, 
near the Quirinal, still possess the grating which St Dominic 
had had placed in the convent of St Sixtus close to the Appian 


bread, and the apostle that he who would not work 
neither should he eat. Also the prophet has said, 
" Because thou eatest of the fruit of thy hands it 
shall be well with thee, and happy shalt thou be." 
This is why, out of the hours devoted to the prepara- 
tion of Divine service, to singing, and to the study 
of books, the sisters shall all carefully apply them- 
selves to manual work as the prioress may com- 
mand." A document of 1340, preser\^ed in the 
archives of Aude,^ proves that at Prouille, in the 
fourteenth centurj', this rule was carefully observed. 
" Every year," says the procurator of the convent 
to the provincial who visits it, "a hundredweight 
of clean, carefully chosen wool is distributed to the 
sisters. They spin and weave it when not engaged 
in the Divine offices, and this they do accord- 
ing to the old custom and the definite command 
of our father St Dominic, who insisted on it in 
order to drive away idleness, the mother of all the 
vices." On feast days, when manual labour was 
forbidden, reading took its place. 

All these observances were fully carried out for 
the spiritual good of the sisters who, freed from all 
material cares, lived only for prayer, meditation on 
holy things, study and work. Placed " under the rule 
and guardianship of the Friars Preachers," they 
obeyed freely elected prioresses who were themselves 
under the orders of the prior of the friars, and the 

^ It is the proces-verbal of the canonical visit which was made 
in 1340 at Prouille and its dependencies by the prior provincial of 
Toulouse, Friar Pierre Guy. We are preparing an edition of it in 
collaboration with the Rev. Father Balme. It will follow the pub- 
lication of our Cartulaire de A\ D. de Prouille, from 1 206 to 1 340. 


higher dignitaries of the Order. The two great 
branches of the Dominican family were thus united. 
Did St Dominic himself create a third branch by 
instituting a third Order ? This important question 
after having been examined by the Bollandists with 
their usual acumen still provides the learned with 
points for research. ^ The question to be decided 
is, how far the founder of the Order of Friars 
Preachers meant to associate the laity with his 
work. It seems more and more likely that the 
merit of this foundation should be attributed to 
the saint, but to fix the exact date is not easy. 
Towards 1380, Raymond of Capua writes that 
Dominic had founded the Third Order in Lombardy 
during the preachings he held there in the last years 
of his life. " In these countries," he says, " heresy had 
so corrupted souls with its poisonous teachings that 
in a number of places the laity had seized on Church 
property, and had transmitted it to their heirs as 
though it were private estate. Reduced to beggary, 
the bishops could neither combat error, nor assure 
the subsistence of their priests. The blessed father 
could not bear the spectacle of their misfortunes, 
and though he had chosen poverty for his disciples, 
he fought to preserve its riches to the Church. He 
summoned to himself some of the God-fearing laity 
with whom he was acquainted, and arranged with 
them that they should stir up a holy militia to 

^ We do not pretend to settle a question so delicate and complex 
as this, for in itself it deserves deep study. We must be content 
to supply two elements of the problem, without attempting to 
solve it. 


work for the restoration and defence of the rights 
of the Church and vahantly resist heresy. After 
having obtained an oath from those whom he re- 
cruited for this object, he began to be afraid that 
their wives might prevent them from working at so 
holy an enterprise ; he therefore exacted from them a 
promise that, far from influencing their husbands 
against such an undertaking, they would help them. 
To those who so bound themselves the saint 
promised eternal life, and named them Brothers 
of the Militia of Jesus Christ." i 

It is certain that this society spread more es- 
pecially in Lombardy, and particularly when, some 
years later, the preaching of Peter the xMartyr in that 
country had given it a fresh impetus ; but may we 
not believe that its creation dated further back, and 
that St Dominic, having all his life fought the heretics, 
is likely to have thought of it before his latest years ? 
This is all the more probable as a writer, a contem- 
porary of the saints, William of Puylaurens, speaks 
of the existence at Toulouse of a similar society 
from the beginning of the crusade against the Albi- 
genses. ^ " With true episcopal zeal," he says, 
" Foulques wished the orthodox people of the 
Toulousain to participate in the indulgence granted 
to the foreign crusaders by binding them still 
more closely to the Church and launching them 
to the assault of heresy. To this end, by the grace 
of God and with the help of the legate, he instituted 
at Toulouse a great confraternity whose members 

1 Raymond of Capua, mentioned by the Bollandists. 

2 William of Puylaurens, quoted by the Bollandists. 


were marked by a cross. Everyone in the city, with 
only a few exceptions, joined, and adhesions also 
came from the suburbs. He united them all in the 
service of the Church by a common oath, and gave 
them as sureties Aymeric de Castelnau, surnamed 
Cofa, and his brother Arnold, both knights, Peter of 
St Romanus and Arnold Bernard, says Endura, all 
men of energy, discretion and power." The name of 
St Dominic is certainly not mentioned in this pas- 
sage, but if we remember that in all apostolic work 
Dominic and Foulques were always so much united 
that historians have frequently attributed to the one 
the creations of the other ; ^ if we also remember 
that the Dominicans, only a few years later, spread 
over Lombardy and the Universal Church an institu- 
tion in all respects similar, we may conclude that 
the founder of the Friars Preachers was no stranger 
to the creation of the confraternity of Toulouse. 

The Militia developed rapidly, adding to the Order 
thousands of persons of both sexes, of every age and 
condition, making the action of St Dominic still vaster 
and deeper in its consequences. The laity were 
henceforth his co-workers, and the word of command 
given to them was soon passed on into the bosom of 
family life and elsewhere. The Tertiary indeed wore 
the badge of the Order, submitted to peculiar 
religious practices, and adopted a more austere way 
of life, yet remained in the world : the husband kept 
his wife, the wife her husband, the artisan his 
trade, the professor his chair, the official his office. 
Sovereigns and cardinals might disguise the habit 

^ The foundation of Prouille has been attributed to P'oulques. 


of the Tertiary under the royal mantle or the purple. 
But to whatever class he belonged, whatever his 
position, the Tertiary was obliged to take his orders 
from the friars and to execute them in his owfl— . 
sphere of action, and in his own way. As the name 
suggested, this society was indeed a Militia of which 
the jeli^ious were the invisible but always active . 
cKIefs. " In creating the Friars Preachers," says 
Tlacordaire,! " Dominic drew from the desert a 
monastic phalanx and girded them with the apostolic 
sword. The creation of the third Order introduced 
the religious life into the heart of domestic existence, 
and the nuptial bed. The world became peopled 
with young women, widows, married folk and men 
of all ages who publicly wore the badge of a 
religious Order, and secretly in their homes were 
assiduous in its practices. ... To emulate the 
saints it was no longer deemed necessary to fly the 
world; any room might be a cell, every house 
a Thebaid. The history of this institution is 
as beautiful as anything ever written. It pro- 
duced saints in every walk of life, from the 
throne to the footstool, in such abundance that 
the cloister and the wilderness might well have 
' been jealous." 

Such was the Order, and such its nature, with its 

I three great bodies attached together in a close 

I hierarchy ; its rules and observances held in degrees 

' of varying severity, to encourage in some an active 

life, in others one of contemplation ; a vast but 

harmonious system where the most ardent mysticism 

^ Vie de St Dominique, p. 282. 


was allied with practical common sense, where people 
worked at once and with the same zeal for their 
own, and their neighbour's salvation. It was in fact 
a perfect reproduction, in the lives of thousands, of a 
unique example — the founder of the Order, — St 
Dominic himself. 

To make the work lasting, it was necessary to 
provide for the regularity of its functions. Unfore- 
seen circumstances might call for fresh rules, tem- 
porary or permanent ; for negotiations or exceptional 
measures. The fathers who gathered in Bologna in 
1220 under the presidency of their Master decided 
that to settle important questions of general interest, 
a Chapter of the whole Order should be henceforth 
held annually in one of the two great Dominican 
centres, Paris and Bologna.^ That the institution 
could not always preserve intact the austerity and 
rigour of its early days, that abuses would surely 
creep into the general structure of the work, and into 
each of its parts, had to be remembered. The 
Master General, with the visitors he was to send to 
the provinces and the convents, were to watch over 
this. Lastly, as the number of monasteries in- 
creased every year, they were to be welded together 
in the close bands of a firm hierarchy by the intro- 
duction of intermediaries between them and the 
Master. To this task the second Chapter, again 
held in Bologna in May 1221, under the direction of 
St Dominic, was especially devoted. The documents 
connected with this assembly have not come down 
to us any more than those of the first Chapter. 
1 Later, other towns might be chosen for the holding of Chapters. 


We know, however, that the Dominican monasteries 
were grouped into eight provinces having each a , 
provincial at its head, an intermediary between th€' 
monasteries under his jurisdiction and the Master 
General. They were Spain, Provence, France,. 
Lombardy, Rome, Germany, Hungary and England; 
and they had as provincials Suero Gomez, Bertrand 
of Garrigua, Matthew of France, Jordan of Saxony, 
John of Placenza, Conrad the Teutonic, Paul of 
Hungary, and Gilbert de Frassinet.^ 

The Order was now definitely organised, and 
without fear of compromising its prosperity St 
Dominic might have left it to itself as he had 
wished to do in 1220, to seek the barbarous Cuman 
Tartars whose apostle it had been the dream of his 
life to become. But Providence did not allow it. 
St Dominic had finished the earthly task allotted 
to him. Nothing remained for him but to receive 
from Heaven the reward of his merits. 

1 Echard, vol. i. p. 20; B. Gui. Brevis hisloria, 0. F ; {Ampl. 
Coll. vol. vi. p. 350). 



\A/HEN from Venice St Dominic returned to the 
Bologna monastery towards the middle of 
July 1221, he was already attacked by the disease 
v^-destined to carry him ofP.^ He suffered from 
extreme lassitude and frequent attacks of fe^er. 
His exhaustion was forgotten on his arrival, in 
conversation with the prior, Friar Ventura, and 
the procurator. Friar Rudolfo, on the affairs of the 
convent, till the night was far spent. In spite of 
their entreaties he attended matins, and prayed all 
night as was his custom. Then violent pains in his 
head obliged him to fling himself on the sack of 
wool which served him for a bed. He was fated not 
to rise from it. The fever increased upon him 
rapidly, consuming his strength, and dysentery soon 
completed its work. Doctors were called in, but 
they declared there was no hope. He had himself 
no illusions, and he several times said he should 
not see the coming feast of the Assumption. 

^ We have made use in describing St Dominic's last hours of 
the depositions, made in 1232 in the inquiry for the process of 
canonisation by the Friars of Bologna, who had been with the 
Master during his last illness. Following Lacordaire's example we 
have been content with giving their own true as well as touching 


He devoted his last days to giving his friars 
valuable advice. Many times he called the young 
novices to his side, and still preserving a serene 
countenance he exhorted them in " words of much 
gentleness " to observe the spirit of the Rule in all 
faithfulness. He then summoned twelve of the 
older friars and in their presence made a general 
confession of his life aloud to Ventura. Then 
addressing the religious he implored them to 
preserve their chastity: " God has in His mercy," he 
said to them, '• kept me till this day in pure and 
unblemished virginity. If you desire the same grace, 
avoid any suspicious relations. It is by his care 
for this virtue that the servant becomes agreeable to 
God, and respected by his neighbour. Serve the 
Lord always in fervour of spirit ; strengthen and 
extend our rising Order ; be strong in holiness and in 
the observance of the Rule ; grow in virtue ! " Then, 
no doubt fearing he had indulged in self praise by 
speaking of his chastity in public, he continued : 
'♦Though Divine grace has preserved me from all 
stain till this very hour, I must confess that I have 
not entirely escaped the weakness of finding more 
pleasure in the conversation of young than of old 
women." Still fearing to have said too much he 
turned to his confessor and whispered : " Brother, I 
think I sinned in speaking of my virginity aloud. I 
should have been silent." Then growing still graver, 
and putting into his words the solemnity of a 
dying request, he added : " O my sons and brothers, 
this is the inheritance I leave you : have charity, 
keep humility, preserve voluntary poverty." He 


then particularly insisted on the vow of poverty, 
explaining to his friars its importance in the 
religious life, and the prosperity of the Order. 
Becoming more and more eager, *' he called down 
his curse, and that of the Almighty on any who 
should bestow worldly goods on the Friars Preachers, 
and so dim with earthly dross an Order destined to 
shine for ever by its poverty." 

Though he suffered greatly he retained his 
customary serenity and playfulness. He never 
complained, no groan escaped him. To soothe his 
pain they took him away from the town to the 
heights of Santa Maria ai Monti where the air was 
purer and fresher. He was anxious to have some 
talk with the prior, who, at his summons, attended 
him accompanied by twenty monks anxious to listen 
once more to their father's counsels. In beautiful 
and touching words he spoke to them. When the 
parish priest of Santa Maria announced his inten- 
tion of presiding at the saint's funeral and laying 
him in his church, St Dominic meekly begged that 
his tomb should be made under the feet of his 
brethren ; and to ensure the execution of his wish, 
and that it might not give rise to any discussion, he 
had himself removed to the convent. 

He was placed in Brother Moneta's cell. Friar 
Rudolfo the procurator never left him again, sup- 
porting his head, and constantly wiping away the 
drops of sweat that gathered on his brow. Around 
him stood the monks watching his holy agony with 
tearful eyes. St Dominic saw, and wished to comfort 
them : ♦' Do not weep, my beloved sons, do not 


grieve because my body must disappear from you. 
I am going where I can serve you better than I 
could here." One of the friars asked him where 
he wished to be buried, and he once more replied, 
" Beneath the feet of my Brothers." 

The supreme moment drew nigh : for the last time 
the saint asked for the prior and the monks. 
" Father," the prior said to him, " you know in what 
desolation and sadness you leave us. Remember us 
before the Lord in prayer." And Dominic, already 
absorbed in God, raised his hands to heaven and 
said, " O Holy Father, I have accomplished Thy 
work with joy. I have carefully kept those whom 
Thou hast given me. Now to Thee I commend 
them, protect Thou them. Behold I come to Thee, 
O Heavenly Father." Then addressing the friars he 
said, " Begin." The religious at once began to 
recite the Prayer for the Recommendation of the 
Soul, broken by sobs and tears, whilst the saint, 
absorbed in contemplation, repeated them with a 
feeble motion of his lips. When at the end of the 
prayer they reached the words " Come to his assist- 
ance, ye saints of God ; come forth to meet him, ye 
angels of the Lord, receiving his soul, offering it in 
the sight of the Most High," he raised his hands to 
Heaven and died. It was on Friday, August 6, 
1221, and he had scarcely completed his fifty-first 

1 Bernard Guidonis remarks that the death of St Dominic was 
a last lesson in poverty. ' * He died, " he says, "in Brother Moneta's 
bed because he had none of his own ; and he died in Brother Moneta's 
tunic because he had not another with which to replace the one he 
had long been wearing." (Martene, op. cit. liv. vi. p. 339.) 


That same day Friar Raoul was saying mass 
during a journey. At the moment when he was about 
to pray for St Dominic's recovery he fell into a 
trance and saw him shining in splendour, and crowned 
with gold, at the very time when the saint was dying 
at Bologna. Friar Rudolfo was proceeding with 
the burial rites while the monks droned out the 
canticles ; but suddenly, says Lacordaire,^ " a song 
of triumph succeeded to the funeral lamentations, 
an immense joy fell on them from heaven." The 
cult of the saint had begun before his burial ! 

When Cardinal Ugolino heard the news he 
hurried to Bologna, wishing to preside himself at 
the burial of one who had been his friend. After 
r having been viewed by the people, the body of 
the saint was laid in a w^ooden coffin, carefully 
blosed, and in the presence of the cardinal, of the 
F*atriarch of Aquila, of bishops, abbes, and num- 
bers of spectators, it was buried in the church of 
»an-Nicola. The tomb was well sealed and they 
qovered it with a heavy stone " to prevent a sacri- 
igious theft which a false devotion might inspire." 
'his holy sepulchre became, before long, the scene 
)f miracles. 

Twelve years after, in 1233, the Apostolic See was 
occupied by Gregory IX., the great centenarian Pope, 
/formerly Cardinal Ugolino. The increasing wonders 
which took place at San-Nicola attracted crowds of 
pilgrims to Bologna. The church could no longer 
hold the religious who flocked to it, and it had to be 
rebuilt. Jordan of Saxony, the Master General, 
1 Vie de St Dominique^ p. 301. 


decided to transfer the remains of his predecessor 
to a magnificent tomb. He himself presided at 
the ceremony on May 24, 1233, in the presence 
of numbers of friars who had come to Bologna for 
the General Chapter, of the archbishop of Ravenna, 
the bishops of Bologna, Brescia, Modena and 
Tournay,^ of numerous lords, and a vast concourse 
of people. " Now," as he himself narrates, *' the 
friars were in an agony of doubt — praying, paling, 
trembling. So long exposed to the rain and heat in 
a wretched grave,^ would not the body of St Dominic 
emerge worm-eaten and exhaling an atmosphere of 
decay ? " But, O marvel ! " when the stone laid over 
the tomb was raised, a sweet and delectable 
fragrance spread from it, a fragrance that might 
have proceeded from a perfume box rather than a 
sepulchre. The archbishop, the bishops and all 
those present, filled with joy and wonder, fell on their 
knees weeping and praising God who had glorified 
His elect in so striking a manner." The coffin was 
opened and Jordan removed the bones ^nd placed 
them in a pinewood coffer in a marble tomb. Eight 
days afterwards, at the request of the Podesta and the 
people, the tomb was once more opened, and one by 
one, the Master General and three hundred religious 
placed a last kiss on the withered brow of their 
father, retaining about them long afterwards some- 
thing of the fragrance that emanated from the 

^ According to Bernard Guidonis {Ampl. Coll. vol, vi. p. 352). 
These bishops were sent to Bologna by Pope Gregory IX. : *' Ad 
quam translationem convenerunt mandate domini Papse Gregorii." 

2 During the restoration of the church, the tomb of St Dominic 
had remained in the open air. 


precious relics. Gregory IX. decided to begin at once 
the process of canonisation of this servant of God. 
In a letter dated July 11, 1233, he named as Com- 
missioners of Enquiry, Tancred, archdeacon of 
Bologna, and Thomas, prior of Santa Maria del 
Reno, also Palmiri, canon of the Trinity. During 
upwards of twenty days, from the 6th to the 30th of 
August, they received depositions on the life and 
miracles of the saint from religious who had been his 
companions, especially Friar Ventura, who had been 
present at his last hours, William of Montferrat, 
John of Navarre, Rudolfo of Faenza, Stephen of 
Spain, Paul of Venice, and many others who had 
accompanied him in his travels, or had lived in 
intimacy with him. A second Commission of 
Enquiry worked at Toulouse under the direction of 
the abbe of St Sernin and St Etienne. A number 
of witnesses spoke before the Commission of the life 
led by the saint in Languedoc, during his ten years 
of preaching against heresy. When the process was 
concluded Gregory IX. proclaimed the sanctity of 
Dominic, and in a solemn bull dated from Spoleto 
on July 13, 1234,^ he made his cult obligatory in 
the Universal Church, and fixed his feast for the 
5th of August.2 

After having evoked in mystical language the 

^ Potthast, Reg. pont. Rom., No. 9489, where the numerous 
editions of this bull of canonisation are indicated. 

2 The 6th of August, anniversary of the saint's death, could not 
be fixed because of the feast of the Transfiguration. Later, to 
give solemnity to the feast of Ste. Marie Aux Neiges (the dedi- 
catee of Ste. Marie Majeure), Clement VIII. definitely settled 
St Dominic's a day earlier — the 4th August. 


memory of the great founders of Orders, the Pope, 
in a few words, traced the life of St Dominic and 
paid a magnificent tribute to his holiness. ♦' Whilst 
he was still young in years," he said, " he bore in 
his childish breast the heart of an old man; choosing 
a life of continual mortification he sought the Creator 
of all life ; dedicated to God and vowed a Nazarene 
under the rule of St Augustine, emulating the zeal 
of Samuel for holy things, he recalled the holiness of 
Daniel by the zeal with which he chastened his desires. 
Strong as an athlete in the way of right and justice 
and the path of saints, never departing from the 
teachings and service of the Church militant, sub- 
jecting the body to the soul, the senses to reason, in 
spirit uniting himself to God, he strove to approach 
Him while he remained attached to his neighbour by 
the cords of a wise compassion. In the presence 
of this man, who trod under foot all carnal pleasures 
and pierced the stony hearts of sinners, the whole 
heretical sect trembled with fear, and the body of 
the saints with joy. He grew at once in age and 
in grace; experiencing an ineffable delight in the 
salvation of souls, he devoted his whole soul to 
God's Word and by it awoke thousands to life. . . . 
Raised to the dignity of pastor and guide among 
God's people, he, by his own efforts, established a 
new Order of Preachers, and he never ceased to 
strengthen it by sure and certain miracles. For 
besides the works of holiness and miracles of virtue 
which gave so much eclat to his earthly career, 
after his death he restored health to the afflicted, 
speech to the dumb, sight to the blind, hearing 


to the deaf and power to the paralysed, thereby 
showing what kind of soul had dwelt in his 

" Bound to us by ties of close friendship, when 
we were in a humbler state, he gave us by the 
testimony of his life certain proofs of holiness, 
afterwards confirmed by the truth of his miracles, 
reported to us by faithful witnesses. For this 
reason, and sharing with the people who are 
intrusted to us the certainty that by his aid 
God's mercy may be moved, and that we shall 
rejoice to have in heaven the favour of one who 
has been our friend on earth, by the advice of 
our brothers and of all the prelates present in 
the Apostolic See, we have determined to add 
him to the number of the saints, summoning and 
ordering you^ that at the nones of August, the 
eve of the day when, laying down his earthly body, 
and rich in grace, he entered into heavenly glory 
and became as other saints, you shall celebrate his 
feast and cause it to be celebrated with solemnity, 
so that God, touched by the prayers of him who 
living served Him, shall give us grace in this life 
and glory in the next. Desiring to do honour to 
the sepulchre of this great confessor, who glorifies 
the Church Universal by the wonder of his miracles, 
and to attract to it a concourse of pious Christians, 
we grant to all those who, having repented and con- 
fessed, shall each year visit it on his feast day with 
respect and devotion, by God's mercy and the 

^ He addresses himself to the archbishops, abbots, and prelates 
of the Universal Churcli. 


authority of his apostles Peter and Paul, a year 
of indulgence." 1 

Following the example of the Church, both litera- 
ture and art strove to glorify St Dominic. A school 
of painters and sculptors developed in the bosom of 
the Order ; so that books have been written on " the 
artists of the Order of Friars Preachers." They 
devoted their genius to the gloi-y of their father. 

The tomb erected to him by Jordan of Saxony 
was soon thought unworthy so great a saint. 
The convent and commune of Bologna intrusted to 
the illustrious Nicola Pisano, and the Bolognese 
Dominican Fra Guglielmo the task of raising a 
splendid Area to his memory in sculptured marble. 
The artists worked long at it, and at last on June 
5, 1267, on the feast of Pentecost, in the presence 
of crowds of people, there was placed in the church 
of St Dominic at Bologna the tomb admired to this 
day. The plain sarcophagus containing the precious 
relics rested on rows of pillars. The two largest 
fa9ades were each decorated with two bas-reliefs 
separated by statues, the one of Christ, the other 
of the Virgin ; the ends having each only one bas- 
relief. The artist has represented the principal 
scenes from the saint's life ; the miracle at Fan- 
jeaux, the apparition of the apostles Peter and 
Paul, the vision and the call to the Order of the 
Blessed Reginald, and the raising to life of Napoleon 
Orsini, the nephew of the cardinal of Fossanovo. 
The whole formed an ensemble of eighty figures. In 
this complete representation of contemporary events, 
^ Labbe, Concilia, vol. xi. pars. i. p. 329. 


and especially in the frontal reliefs, the master 
(Nicolas Pisano) has surpassed himself in the 
proportion of the figures, the life and movement, 
the amount of style and the elegance of the execu- 
tion." 1 Fra Guglielmo, a less powerful artist, while 
w^orking for the founder of his Order also showed 
himself at his best. 

Fine though it was, even this tomb did not quite 
satisfy the veneration in which the Bolognese held 
St Dominic. In 1469 the commune voted 700 gold 
crowns for the work of producing a covering for the 
tomb. The work was intrusted to a pupil of 
Giacomo della Quercia, Nicolas di Barri, after- 
wards known as Nicola dell' Area. He devoted to 
the work four years, from 1469 to 1473, and then 
left it unfinished. Vasari thought it divine. A 
succession of statues adorn the pyramidal roof of 
the tomb, representing an angel in prayer, St 
Francis of Assisi and St Dominic (two saints whom 
the people delighted to unite in a common worship), 
St Florian, St Agricola, St Vitalis, a descent from 
the cross between two angels, and the four 
evangelists; at the apex of the pyramid, presiding 
over this assemblage of saints, rises the severe and 
majestic statue of the Eternal Father. Nicola dell* 
Area was succeeded in the work by Michael Angelo 
himself. The brother of a Dominican, the friend of 
the celebrated monk of San Marco, Savonarola — 
the great Florentine sculptor laid at the feet of St 
Dominic the homage of his genius. In 1492, he 
executed for his tomb a kneeling angel, a statuette 

* Burkhardt Le CiUrone, Arl Moderne {trad, franc.) ^ p. 319. 


of St Proclus, and another of St Petronius, the 
patron saint of Bologna. Finally the friend and 
fellow-worker of Michael Angelo, Alfonso Lombardi, 
finished this wonderful piece of work by carving the 
base on which the sarcophagus rested. In 1532 he 
represented on it in basso relievo the birth of St 
Dominic, the adoration of the Magi, and the triumph 
of St Dominic. ^ 

The primitive painters also devoted to the founder 
of the Order of Preachers some admirable frescoes on 
the walls of the Dominican cloisters, and some pictures 
full of grace and pious sentiment. At Santa Caterina 
of Pisa, Traini painted in the fourteenth century on 
a panel on a field of gold, a St Dominic standing, 
surrounded by eight scenes from his life. At Santa 
Maria Novella of Florence, Simone Memmi executed 
in the Spanish chapel the beautiful fresco represent- 
ing the fierce struggle between Dominican theology 
and error, the dogs of the Lord {Domini Caries) 
against the wolves of heresy. But it was the great 
Dominican painter Fra Angelico who offered to his 
master the most Christian homage. St Dominic 
imposing the rule of silence, as he painted it over 
the door of the convent of San Marco, is a striking 
image of monkish austerity. And no one can forget 
the gracious scenes from the saint's life depicted by 
him at Cortona on the predella of the gesu altar, and 

^ As to the tomb of St Dominic consult : Davia, Memoria in- 
torno aW Area di S. Domenico ; R. P. Berthier, Le tombeni de 
St Dominique 'y la Revtie de Part Chretien, ^^ Le tombeau de St 
Dominique a Bologne" 1895, p. 456; Burkhardt, Le Cicerotie 
Art Moderne, p. 319, 320, 404, 438, and following, and the 
general histories of Italian art. 


the crucifixion of San Marco where St Dominic with 
the other founders of Orders is made to assist at the 
mystery of Calvary. Pisano, Lombardi, Michael 
Angclo, Memmi, Fra Angelico, these are bright rays 
in the glory of St Dominic ! 

Literature like art has glorified the memory of the 
founder of the Order of Friars Preachers. Countless 
panegyrics have proclaimed his sanctity, from the 
papal bull of Gregory IX. up to our own day. 
We must above all things remember what Dante 
wrote in his Paradiso. After St Thomas Aquinas 
has sung before the Assembly of the Saints of the 
poverty of St Francis, the great Franciscan doctor, 
St Bonaventura, praises the learning and the 
apostolic zeal of St Dominic. " In that region where 
sweet Zephyrus arises to open the new leaves, 
wherew^ith Europe is seen to reclothe herself, not 
very far from the beating of the waves behind which 
the sun for his long heat hides himself from all men, 
stands the fortunate Calaroga. . . . Therein was 
born the amorous fere of the Christian faith, the 
holy athlete, benign to his friends and stern to his 
foes ; and from its creation his mind was so fulfilled 
of living virtue, that in his mother it made her 

After that the espousals were completed at the 
holy font between him and the faith, where they 
dowered each other with mutual salvation, the lady 
who gave her assent for him saw in her sleep the 
wonderful fruit which was to issue from him and 
his heirs; a spirit set forth to name him with the 
possessive of Him whose he was wholly. Dominic 


was he called, and I speak of him as of the husband- 
man whom Christ chose to His garden to aid Him. 
Right well did he appear a messenger and a familiar 
of Christ, for the first desire manifest in him was 
toward the first counsel which Christ gave. . . . O 
Felix in very truth his father 1 O Joan in very truth 
his mother! if being interpreted it means as they 
say.^ Not for the world, for whose sake now men 
weary themselves, following him of Ostia and 
Thad2eus,2 but for the love of the true manna, in 
a little time he became a great doctor, such that he 
betook himself to going round the vine which soon 
grows white if the vine-dresser is in fault. He did 
not beg from the Holy See . . . not to dispense two 
or three for six, not the fortune of a next vacancy, 
nor what belongs to the poor, but for leave to fight 
against the erring world for the sake of the seed 
whereof twenty-four plants are girding thee. Then, 
with doctrine and good will together, he set out with 
his apostolical ofBce like a torrent which a deep vein 
presses out ; and his attack smote upon the heretical 
stocks in more lively wise in those places where 
the resistance was most stout. From him were 
made thereafter divers streams whence the Catholic 
garden is watered so that its bushes stand alive." ^ 

After signing the Bull of Canonisation Gregory IX. 
declared that he no more doubted the saintliness of 

^ Felix in Latin signifies happy, Joan in Hebrew means 
favoured by grace. 

^ The Cardinal of Ostia is a celebrated commentator on the 
Decretals ; Thadaeus a well-known Florentine doctor. 

^ Dante, The Diviru Comedy^ Paradise^ Canto xii. about 52-105, 
translated by Artaud de Montor. 

N " 


St Dominic than that of the apostles Peter and 
Paul, and many generations of Christians have 
agreed with him. It is indeed impossible to imagine 
greater self-abnegation, or a life more entirely devoted 
to God's service. From the day when, as a young 
student at Palencia, he sold his books to help the 
needy, till the day when, as he lay dying, he addressed 
his last exhortations to his religious, St Dominic 
had but one object — God's glory — and it is this 
which gives his life its wonderful unity. In this 
he resembles many other saints, but his character 
grows clearer and more individual when one considers 
the methods he employed. There are, amongst the 
elect, those who devote themselves to the contempla- 
tion of divine things, who, the better to practise 
asceticism, plunge into solitude or shut themselves 
up in cloisters lest any noise from without should 
disturb their ecstasy. Others fling themselves into 
action ; it may be to work miracles of charity, or to 
spread further the reign of the Gospel. Some 
arrive at saintship by means repugnant to delicacy 
of feeling and astonishing to intelligent minds. 
Those are rare who harmoniously unite mysticism 
and action, pushing both to the verge of the sublime. 
St Dominic was of these. If one considers the 
austerity of his life, and remembers the hair cloth 
worn next his skin, the bloody disciplines, the iron 
chain about his loins, the abstinence he all his life 
practised, the whole nights passed in prayer; if one 
calls to mind the Order of cloistered nuns founded 
by him, who behind their grating were vowed to 
penance and contemplation, he appears as a mystic 


fit to figure on the altar beside St Bruno, St 
Teresa, and St Paul of the Cross. But it was this 
same saint who wandered afoot through western 
Europe preaching the Word, whose voice was heard 
in thousands of towns and hamlets, who founded an 
Order where everything tends to apostolic action, 
who himself organised most of his convents and 
directed the deliberations of the friars in Chapter. 
Wise in heavenly things, but with a wonderful 
comprehension of earthly affairs he excelled in con- 
ducting a negotiation or a controversy, in looking 
after material concerns, in buying, exchanging and 
attending to agricultural returns to provide for the 
existence of his beloved daughters of Prouille. The 
friend of Simon de Montfort, the adviser of the 
Popes, he took part in the most important political 
questions of his time; he judged the heretics; 
crucifix in hand he appeared on the battle-field ; and 
at scarcely fifty-one years of age he died, worn out by 
his ceaseless activity as much as by his asceticism. 

It is all this that has made his influence so deep 
and so lasting. This it is that enables us to discover 
in his life teachings that have a wonderful applica- 
tion to the necessities of the present day. No 
longer in Languedoc or in Lombardy only is the 
Church discredited, and society agitated by dis- 
astrous doctrines. No longer in isolated places 
only do governments uphold erroneous teachers, and 
hinder the apostles of the truth. The great methods 
employed by St Dominic with so much success are 
still needed. Preachers are more than ever wanted, 
scientific training is more than ever required in the 


Church, and its defenders, while stimulating the 
divine life in their souls by prayer and spiritual aid, 
must draw from the university and the study a 
knowledge of things human and divine. The life of 
St Dominic is still a school of patience and courage. 
After ten years of preaching in Languedoc he had 
onTylifteen companions, and the heretics seemed to 
Be triumphing. But his faith remained unshaken, 
and five years later more than a thousand friars 
were disseminated over the whole Christian world, 
testifying by their zeal how fruitful had become the 
work which had at one time seemed destined to 
failure. His trust in God was not the result of 
success: as a labourer in the Lord's Vineyard he 
from the first tasted the assurance that the Heavenly 
Father would make his work fruitful. 


Works and Documents of the Thirteenth 

JORDAN of Saxony. — Of the origin of the Order 
-J of Friars Preachers. Immediate successor of 
St Dominic as Master General of the Order, Jordan 
of Saxony wrote this brief account previous to the 
canonisation of the saint before 1234. The text 
is printed in the collections of the Bollandists, 
Acta Sanctorum, August 4, p. 545; and has been re- 
edited by the Rev. Father Berthier, O.P., at the 
Catholic University of Freybourg. Written by a 
friend and disciple of St Dominic, this document 
is of great value. 

Encyclical Letter addressed by the Master General, 
Jordan of Saxony, to the Order on the ceremony 
of the translation of St Dominic. It was written 
between May 24, 1233, the date of the translation, 
and July 13, 1234, the date of the saint's canonisa- 
tion. It is the account of an eye-witness and we 
have made particular use of it. Edited by the 
Bollandists, ibidem. 

Actes de Bologna et de Toulotise, a collection of 
depositions on the life, the virtues and miracles of 
the saint, collected in 1233 by the commissioners 
of the inquiry in the process of canonisation. We 


have made use of it to describe particular features 
in the life and character of St Dominic. Edited by 
the Bollandists. 

Bartholomew of Trent. — Life of St Dominic. 
Written from 1234 to 1251 by a Dominican monk 
personally acquainted with St Dominic. Edited 
by the Bollandists. 

Humbert de Romans. — Chronique de VOrdre des 
Precheurs de 1202 a 1254. Written by Humbert de 
Romans, Master General of the Order, it deserves 
the utmost confidence because of the integrity and 
official position of its author. Published by Mamachi, 
Annates Ordinis Prcedicatorum, and re-edited by the 
Rev. Father Berthier in his complete edition of the 
works of Humbert. — Vie du Bienheureux Dofuinique. 
Written before 1254, before Humbert became Master 
General, published by Mamachi op. cit., and the Rev, 
Father Berthier ; a collection of the most authentic 
traditions on St Dominic's life. 

Constantine D'Orvieto, O.P. — Vie de Saint Domi- 
nique. Written between 1242 and 1247 to complete 
what Jordan of Saxony had already written ; edited 
by Echard in his Scriptores Ordinis Prcedicatoriim, 
ParisT' 1719. Constantine was bishop of Orvieto 
and wrote at the request of the Master General, 
John the Teuton. 

Sister Cecilia. — Narrative of the life of St Dominic. 
Sister Cecilia had been one of the nuns transferred 
by St Dominic from the Trastevere to Saint Sixtus ; 
she became later prioress of the monastery of St 
Agnese at Bologna. In her old age, towards the 
year 1280, she dictated this narrative to Sister 


Angelica. Written nearly sixty years after the 
events this document, though it comes from an 
eye-witness, requires some modifying ; there is a 
tendency towards exaggeration and the marvellous. 
Published by Mamachi in his Annales Ordinis 

Gerard de Frachet, O.P. — Vie des Freres de VOrdre 
des Precheurs. Written by Brother Gerard, a native 
of Frachet in the diocese of Limoges, provincial of 
Provence; he undertook it in 1256 by command of 
the Chapter General of Paris and of the Master 
General, Humbert de Romans, from authentic docu- 
ments. We have borrowed from it many facts on 
the saint's life. PubHshed at Douai in 1619, this 
work has been reprinted in our day by the Rev. 
Father Reichert, O.P., in the Monumenta Ordinis 
Prcedicatorum about to be published^ 

Rodriguez de Cerrato. — Life of the Blessed St 
Dominic. Written by a Spanish monk before 1266; a 
compilation of no great value. Edited by Mamachi, 
op. cit. 

Thierry or Theodoric of Apoldia. — History of the 
life and the miracles of St Dominic and the Order 
founded by him. Complete and detailed life of the 
saint written about 1288 by a German Dominican 
by the order of Muno de Zamora, Master General 
of the Order, from all the earlier writings. Edited 
by the Bollandists. 

For the war with the Albigenses consult the 
chronicles of Peter of Vaux Cernay (Migne Patr. 
lat. tom. ccxiii.) and of William of Puylaurens 
{Bouquet y Historiens des Gaules, tom. xix.). The 


Pontifical Bulls concerning St Dominic and the 
early days of the Order fill the first numbers of 
Bullariiim Ordinis Prcedicatorum. 

Fourteenth Century 

Bernard Guidonis. — This celebrated Dominican 
historian has, from the traditions of the Order and 
former documents used by him with much skill and 
tact, written several books that may be usefully 
consulted, especially a History of the Dom'mican 
Foundations, a Catalogue of the Masters General of the 
Order, and a Catalogue of the Priors of Prouille, which 
have been printed by Mart^ne and Durand in their 
Veterum Scriptorum et Monumentorum aniplissima 
col lectio, vol. vi. 

Pierre Calo. — Vie de St Dominique. Written about 
1314 by a Dominican monk; a compilation based 
on a somewhat earlier work by another Dominican, 
Etienne de Salanhac, Des quatre choses en quoi Dieu 
a honore VOrdre des Prechetirs (unpublished). 

The Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century 

Alain de la Roche. — Vie de St Dominique. This 
Breton Dominican, who wrote in the middle of the 
fifteenth century, attempted to write the life of the 
saint from his own revelations. Proceeding in this 
singular manner he wrote a narrative almost entirely 
fabulous which has had unfortunately too much 
credit with pious souls. A great part of the legend 
of the Rosary comes from the narrative by Alain. 
Freybourg, 1619, in 4to. 

Jean de Rechac, O.P. — Vie de St Dominique. Paris, 


in 4to. Has generally translated into French the 
fabulous accounts by Alain. Paris, 1647, 2 vols, in 

Malvenda, O.P. — Annates Ordinis Pnedicatorum. 
A work of little critical value. Naples, 1627, in 

Bollandists. — Acta S. Dominici Confessoris. Critical 
life of St Dominic written by the Jesuit, William 
Cuper, and published in the first August volume of 
the great collection of Acta Sanctorum, Antwerp, 
1733. Exposes many of the untrue stories obscuring 
the saint's life. We have made much use of it. 

Touron, O.P. — La Vie de St Dotninique Guzman, 
founder of the Order of Preachers, with an abridged 
history of his first disciples. Paris, 1739, in 4to. 
Written with a certain amount of critical faculty, 
and to some extent useful in our own book. 

Mamachi. — Annates Ordinis PrcEdicatorum. Rome, 
1756, vol. i. appeared by itself in folio. 

Modern Works 

Lacordaire, O.P. — Vie de Saint Dominique. Ap- 
peared in 1840 in 8vo, when the great author was 
trying to re-establish in Prance the Order of Friars 
Preachers which he had just entered; it is more 
valuable in form than in substance. 

Danzas, O.P. Etudes sur les temps primitifs de 
rOrdre des Freres Precheurs. 1st volume in 8vo, 

Rev. Mother Drane. — The History of St Dominic 
(in English) translated into French by Cardon. 
Paris, in 8vo, 1893. 


Balme et Lelaidier, O.P. — Cartulaire ou Histoire 
diplomatique de Saint Dominique. A complete collec- 
tion of all the documents concerning St Dominic, 
published and annotated by the Rev. Father Balme. 
We owe much to this work, as it enables us to be 
more precise and to free the life of the saint from 
many legends. 

Histoire du Monastere de Notre Dame de Prouille. 
By a nun belonging to this monastery. This work is 
especially interesting in what concerns the history 
of the new monastery. In 8vo, at the monastery of 

Analecta Sacri Ordinis Prcedicatorum. A review 
published at the wish of the Master General of the 
Order, and giving, besides contemporary documents 
concerning the Order, important ones on the early 
history of the Preachers. Rome, 3 vols, in folio. 






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